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Gendering boundary work: exploring excluded spaces in supermarket job rotation
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies. (Ageing and Living Conditions Programme (ALC))
2015 (English)In: Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, ISSN 0966-369X, E-ISSN 1360-0524, Vol. 22, no 2, 188-204 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article explores the establishment of gendering divides in organisations by bridging Hernes' (2004) typologies of physical, social and mental boundary work with notions on the practice of gender as negotiated in everyday organisational activities. In the investigated Swedish supermarket, the pre-store, a narrow, front-stage space in which only women worked, was excluded from the job rotation that otherwise dominated the organisation of work in the store. This study examines: (1) how and on what grounds the divides of the pre-store were established in the supermarket and (2) how spatial divides were incorporated into the practice of gender and work in the supermarket. The findings suggest that the divides that are visible through the exclusion of the pre-store from the job rotation involved not only the allocation of work and space but also multiple and complex physical, social and mental spatial negotiations undertaken by both employees and managers. Together, these factors neutralised the divides as an aspect of the activities. First, the notion that gender was irrelevant for organisational decisions makes gender a non-issue for the organisation of the pre-store activities. Second, the notion that women and men are essentially different provided a ground for explaining why, despite being an organisational non-issue, work and workers were in fact organised along gendered lines in the supermarket. The study contributes with qualitative insights regarding the micro-political practices that make gender into a neutralised non-issue in organisations and, in particular, the intertwinement of spatial practices and negotiations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015. Vol. 22, no 2, 188-204 p.
Keyword [en]
job rotation, gender, boundary work, food retail trade, organisation
National Category
Cultural Studies Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80708DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2013.879107ISI: 000349024500003OAI: diva2:651144
Available from: 2013-09-24 Created: 2013-09-24 Last updated: 2015-03-06Bibliographically approved

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Lundgren, Anna Sofia
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