Sexuella trakasserier finns nog i en annan värld : Konstruktioner av ett (o)giltigt problem
Sammanfattning: The focus of this dissertation is how gender, heterosexuality and sexual harassment are constructed in an academic setting, based on in-depth interviews with 15 female PhD-students on how they talk about, understand and interpret experiences of gender and sexual harassment in academia. In the first part of the analysis, the informants’ own descriptions of their academic contexts are studied. The second part of the analysis addresses the question of how gender is produced, constructed, created through meanings of being a researcher. The analysis shows that an individualising perspective reproduces two sets of assumptions simultaneously: the assumption of equality between women and men, and the assumption of gender difference. The third part of the analysis focuses on sexual harassment. At a level of principle, sexual harassment is constructed as both defined by subjective standards, and on the other hand objective standards, just like the Swedish official definition on sexual harassment. When the women are talking about their own experiences of sexualization in academia, sexual harassment as a frame of reference is made invalid through following frames of interpretation: for example, notions of the female harassed victim, notions of the male harasser, alcohol, the level of violence/coercion, frequency and notions of the legitimate victim. When all these frames for interpretation are considered together, the space for drawing a boundary and naming something as sexual harassment seems to be minimal. The informants’ use of sexual harassment as a concept is partly informed by the assumed gender neutrality of the professional order and partly by what are culturally expected interactions between women and men. Finally, the contextual analysis shows that due to a double meaning of the Swedish gender equality discourse, sexual harassment tends to become “everything” and “nothing” at the same time. This opens up for invalidations of sexual harassment as a valid problem in the academic setting.
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