Neutrality, gender stereotypes, and analytical voids: The ideals and practices of Swedish child psychologists
2011 (English)In: Feminism and Psychology, ISSN 0959-3535, E-ISSN 1461-7161, Vol. 21, no 3, 372-392 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article reports a study of the meanings of gender that are active in Swedish child psychologists’ narratives about their practice. The analysis is informed by constructionist and discourse-psychological approaches. We identify and describe four different interpretative repertoires: a repertoire of neutrality and equal treatment, based on a liberal political vision of equality in combination with a neutral knowledge ideal; an individualizing repertoire that focuses on individual differences and symptoms, and reduces the impact of context for children's problems; a repertoire of gender-specific characteristics, in which notions of fundamental internal differences between girls and boys are central when assessing what is normal; and a repertoire of gender-specific expectations, focusing on how girls and boys are raised differently. The repertoires were often used unreflectingly, and narratives tended to slide between the different meanings of gender, often ending in accounts of individualizing and symptom-focused treatments. In the analysis, these patterns are brought into a more general discussion of the limited, and limiting, analytical tools that these psychologists relied on in their work. Since their analytical tools stop short of the societal level, gendered patterns of power are left outside of their understanding of ‘the psychological’. As a consequence, it would appear that these psychologists adopt treatment strategies focused on gender-stereotypical adjustment to socially expected behaviors.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage , 2011. Vol. 21, no 3, 372-392 p.
child psychologistd, equality discourse, gender, gender neutrality, interpretative repertoires, invisibility of girls
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-45728DOI: 10.1177/0959353511402651OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-45728DiVA: diva2:434385