Reading normalised knowledge production from a feminist perspective: A case study


  • Siv Fahlgren Mid Sweden University
  • Anders Johansson Mid Sweden University



Textbook, Academic, Gender, Normalisation, Social work


This article presents a feminist reading of the introductory part of a Swedish university textbook from the field of social work. We show how a textbook like this, whose aim is to represent the “normal” state of a discipline, is conditioned by discursive circumstances beyond the control of individual authors, such as the normalisation of what is seen as central and what is seen as less important within the discipline, and how these circumstances reproduce patterns that still challenge feminist standpoints. Although pluralism and tolerance are the explicit aims of the editors, a seemingly neutral narrator voice, and the consequent way of presenting different research methods and theories as perspectives open for choice, come to hide existing hierarchies of power within the discipline. Pluralism and discrimination can thus actually coexist.

Author Biographies

  • Siv Fahlgren, Mid Sweden University

    Dr. Siv Fahlgren is a lecturer in social work and coordinator of Forum for Gender Studies at Mid Sweden University, Sweden. This article reflects research completed within the research programme “Challenging Gender”, one of three “Centres of Gender Excellence" financed by the Swedish Research Council. Siv is currently working within this project as the theme leader of the theme “Challenging Normalisation Processes”, which has its base at Mid Sweden University.

    Contact: Dr. Siv Fahlgren
    Department of social work
    Mid Sweden University
    S-831 25 Östersund
    Tel: +46 771-975 000
    [email protected]

  • Anders Johansson, Mid Sweden University

    Dr Anders Johansson is a lecturer in literary studies at the Mid Sweden University, Sweden. He is currently participating in the research programme “Challenging Gender” and writing about materiality and structure within contemporary poetry.

    Contact: Dr. Anders Johansson
    Department of Humanities
    Mid Sweden University
    S-871 88 Härnösand, Sweden
    Tel: +46 771-975 000
    [email protected]







How to Cite

Reading normalised knowledge production from a feminist perspective: A case study. (2010). IARTEM E-Journal, 3(1), 25-45.