Att utmana förändringens gränser : En studie om förändringsarbete, partnerskap och kön med Equal-programmet som exempel

Sammanfattning: In this thesis the overall aim is to analyse conceptions of change with the point of departure being texts developed within the framework of three development partnerships financed by the European Social Fund's Equal Programme 2001-2007. The development partnerships, consisting of collaborating parties from both the public and private sector, aimed at developing new methods and ideas in order to counteract discrimination and all kinds of inequality in working life. The thesis poses the following research questions: How are the problems that the development partnerships intended to counteract described? What appears as important to change in order for discrimination in working life to decrease? In what ways are changes aimed at combating discrimination and contributing to increased gender equality and diversity in working life deemed possible? What motives emerge behind the visions of creating a working life without discrimination? How are gender and other social categories constructed and how do these constructions impact on the conceptions of change that emerge? The ideas, perspectives and interests that characterise the understanding of changes in working life in the studied texts, are illustrated with the aid of theories on how society's forms of rule have changed from government to governance and theories on how gender is done. Furthermore, why certain perspectives and ideas emerge and the consequences of them is analysed based on institutional ethnography and concepts such as social relations and ruling relations. The thesis' analysis points to how the consensus-based organisational form of partnership and the politics and principles that are reflected in the Equal Programme together with notions on growth, leadership and gender create limits for the conceptions of change. Limits that in certain respects entail that society's relations of power and inequality, instead of being challenged, are reproduced. Based on the results of the study, the importance is emphasised of continuously taking one's point of departure in identifying and challenging the limits to how one can speak of change, since the dominant conceptions of change may be an expression of the ruling relations.