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Gender, Technology and Local Culture: tradition and transition in a Swedish municipality

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The article is concerned with the gendering of technology, place and time and the interaction between them. The Swedish community of Lindesberg which changed its local policy towards industry and commerce in the 1980s is presented as a case-study. Before the changes, the local policy was restricted to traditionally male jobs; afterwards, it included jobs for women such as 'distance-working' or telecommuting opportunities. The expansion of the local policy is explained by the population's request for work opportunities for women also, although the local image is still very masculine. The old jobs were considered to be traditional but technically qualified jobs. The new jobs were described by the local authorities as new but technically qualified jobs. The first judgement was supported 'by everyone' while the latter was opposed 'by everyone'. The failure to keep the image of technically qualified work connected to the new opportunities for distance-working is explained by the gender labelling of the new work tasks. As they were given to women, and traditionally women are by definition lacking in technical competence, it was not possible to give the work tasks a label of technology and qualification.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1996

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