Making the Systemically Desirable Culturally Feasible : Towards the Integration of Gender-Knowledge into Informatics Study Programs

Sammanfattning: This dissertation scrutinizes the problem domain of gender-knowledge integration into Swedish higher education study programs in informatics. This integration has been expressed as desirable by for example the Swedish government, individual universities and university colleges and the student union alike. In Swedish informatics study programs however, gender-knowledge seems to have been integrated to a limited extent and there is a dearth of research in this area as well. This indicates that gender-knowledge has so far only to a limited extent been recognized as important for Swedish informatics study programs. The purposes of this research is to 1) increase the insight of managers and developers of informatics study programs into the potential of gender-knowledge to enrich informatics as a subject; and to 2) inspire commitment and provide a means for the design of informatics study programs in which gender-knowledge is integrated. The overarching research question for this project is: What are the crucial challenges for a successful integration of gender-knowledge into Swedish informatics study programs? To address the overarching research question, several studies have been conducted through scrutinizing documents like articles, reports, evaluations and syllabuses, as well as listening to the accounts of experiences of the gender-knowledge integration process communicated by lecturers, PhD students and study program coordinators following a hermeneutic research approach. The results of these studies indicate that the process of integrating gender-knowledge is challenging and that there is a need of support for getting the process up and running. For this, a guide that identifies different important questions to be addressed related to challenge categories like knowledge, organization, pedagogical, and resistance has been developed. The knowledge challenge seems to be particularly challenging hence special attention is paid to the development of a basic theoretical gender-knowledge base that, along with some concrete examples on how the basic theoretical gender-knowledge base, could be integrated into areas of concern for informatics study programs. The different types of support suggested above should be considered food for thought and perhaps pointers of where to start looking. After all, only the local informatics community can integrate gender-knowledge into a study program in an enriching way thus making the systemically desirable culturally feasible.