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Invoking Work Knowledge: Exploring the Social Organization of Producing Gender Studies

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The Palgrave Handbook of Institutional Ethnography

Abstract

This chapter explores the production of work knowledge, through an account of a research journey from institutional capture to discovery. The chapter is based on a study I conducted of epistemic inequalities in Finnish gender studies, from the standpoint of feminist academics. My initial plan for the research project was to focus on how experiences of epistemic exclusion where organized by the Finnish neoliberal higher education reforms and hegemonic feminist epistemic orientations. However, I learned that my interests in epistemic exclusion and hegemonies blocked me from seeing people’s actual activities and challenges. Rather this focus, I realized, directed me toward confirming existing theory. The particular analysis I was able to produce, in the end, was only possible through a focus on the work of producing gender studies—that allowed me to take seriously the complexities and contradictions of people’s experiences, and their socially organized possibilities for participation.

The for people signifies a manner of distinguishing the purpose of Institutional Ethnography from approaches that do research about people.

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Acknowledgment

I would like all the people who have participated in this research. I would also like to thank Marja Vehviläinen, Päivi Korvajärvi, Louise Morley, Tiina Suopajärvi, Helene Aarseth, Ann Christin Nilsen, and May-Linda Magnussen for fruitful discussions and comments, as well as editors, Paul Luken and Suzanne Vaughan, for comments on the early versions of this chapter.

Funding

Funded by Academy of Finland, project number 310795/326765.

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Correspondence to Rebecca W. B. Lund .

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Lund, R.W.B. (2021). Invoking Work Knowledge: Exploring the Social Organization of Producing Gender Studies. In: Luken, P.C., Vaughan, S. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Institutional Ethnography. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54222-1_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54222-1_10

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