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Gender in futures: A study of gender and feminist papers published in Futures, 1969-2009
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3101-5902
2011 (English)In: Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies, ISSN 0016-3287, E-ISSN 1873-6378, Vol. 43, no 9, 1029-1039 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper reviews and discusses papers related to women's studies, gender or feminist perspectives, published in the scientific journal Futures. The aim is to provide new understandings and remapping of futures studies by capturing how gender is created and understood in this field. The gender/feminist criticism of futures studies mainly relates to the field being male-dominated and male biased, which means that the future is seen as already colonised by men. When synthesising the insights from all 78 papers focusing on futures studies and feminism, gender or women, four conclusions are especially striking: (1) Women and non-Westerners are generally excluded from professional futures studies activities and so are feminist issues or issues of particular relevance for women. (2) Futures studies usually make no attempts to reveal underlying assumptions, i.e. often lack a critical and reflexive perspective, which is needed in order to add a critical feminist perspective and envision feminist futures. (3) Feminist futures are needed as a contrast to hegemonic male and Western technology-orientated futures. Feminist futures are diverse, but focus the well-being of all humans. (4) Futures studies often view women as victims, rather than as drivers for change, which means that their alternative futures are often ignored.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011. Vol. 43, no 9, 1029-1039 p.
Keyword [en]
futures studies, feminism, gender
National Category
Civil Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33670DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2011.07.002ISI: 000295566200012ScopusID: 2-s2.0-80052021357OAI: diva2:416976
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in PUBLICATION, VOL 43, ISSUE 9, 19 July 2011, DOI:10.1016/j.futures.2011.07.002 QC 20120117Available from: 2012-01-17 Created: 2011-05-13 Last updated: 2012-01-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Just Sustainable Futures: Gender and Environmental Justice Considerations in Planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Just Sustainable Futures: Gender and Environmental Justice Considerations in Planning
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis contributes and deepens knowledge on long-term planning for sustain­able development through exploring environ­mental justice and gender discourses in planning and futures studies. It also suggests ways of working with those issues.

Environmental justice is explored through discussions with planners in Stockholm, Sweden, and through looking at images of future Stockholm and the environmental justice implications of these. These studies show how environ­mental justice issues can be manifested in a Swedish urban context and discuss how sustainable development and environmental justice can be in­creased, operationalised and politicised in planning. One key contri­bution of the thesis is in identifying the need to address proce­dural and outcomes values in both planning and futures studies.

Gender discourses are explored through analysing papers published in the journal Futures and through an examination of Swedish Regional Growth Programmes. The feminist criticism of futures studies mainly relates to the field being male-dominated and male-biased, which means that the future is seen as already colonised by men, that futures studies generally do not work with feminist issues or issues of particular relevance for women, and that they often lack a critical and reflexive perspective. There is therefore a call for feminist futures as a contrast to hegemonic male and Western technology-orientated futures. The case of the Swedish Regional Growth Programmes shows that gender inequality is often viewed as a problem of unequal rights and possibilities. This liberal view on gender equality has made it rather easy for gender equality advocates to voice demands, e.g. for the inclusion of both women and men in decision-making processes, but the traditional male norm is not challenged. If a different response is required, other ways of describing the problem of gender inequalities must be facilitated. One way to open up different ways of describing the problem and to describe desirable futures could be the use of scenarios.

Planning for just, sustainable futures means acknowledging process values, but also content (giving nature a voice!). It also means politicising planning. There are a number of desirable futures, and when this is clarified the political content of planning is revealed. These different images of the future can be evaluated in terms of environmental justice, gender perspective or any specific environmental aspect, e.g. biodiversity, which indicates that different futures are differently good for nature and/or different societal groups.

Abstract [sv]

Den här avhandlingen bidrar till och fördjupar kunskapen om långsiktig planering för hållbar utveckling. Den gör det genom att belysa miljörättvise- och genus­diskurser i planering och framtidsstudier. Den föreslår också sätt att arbeta med dessa frågor.

Miljörättvisa belyses genom diskussioner med planerare i Stockholm och även genom att undersöka framtidsbilder av Stockholms och deras miljö­rätt­vise­konse­kvenser. De här studierna visar både hur miljörättvisefrågor kan mani­festeras i en svensk urban kontext och diskuterar hur hållbar utveckling och miljö­rättvisa kan få ökad betydelse, operationaliseras och politiseras i planeringen. Ett viktigt bidrag med den här avhandlingen är att påpeka behovet av att adressera både process­uella värden och resultat av planering och fram­tids­studier.

Genusdiskurser utforskas genom att analysera artiklar som publicerats i tidskriften Futures och genom en undersökning av de svenska regionala till­växt­programmen. Den feministiska kritiken av framtidsstudier handlar framför­allt om att fältet är mansdominerat och fokuserar traditionellt manliga frågor, fram­tiden ses därför som redan koloniserad av män. Dessutom påpekas att fram­tids­studier i allmänhet inte jobbar med feministiska frågor eller frågor av sär­skild betydelse för kvinnor, att framtidsstudier ofta saknar ett kritiskt och reflexivt perspektiv och att det finns en efterfrågan av feministiska framtider som en kontrast till hegemoniskt manliga, västerländskt och teknologiskt in­riktade framtider. Fallet med de svenska regionala tillväxtprogrammen visar att ojämställdhet ofta ses som ett problem av ojämlika rättigheter och möjlig­heter. Denna liberala syn på jämställdhet har gjort det ganska lätt för jäm­ställd­hets­förespråkare att kräva och ge röst för krav som att både kvinnor och män ska inkluderas i beslutsprocesser, men den traditionella manliga normen ifråga­sätts sällan. Om andra lösningar önskas, måste andra sätt att beskriva problemet med bristande jämställdhet underlättas. Ett sätt att öppna upp för olika sätt att beskriva problemet och även sätt att beskriva önskvärda framtider skulle kunna vara användning av scenarier.

Planering för en rättvis hållbar framtid innebär ett erkännande processuella värden, men även av själva resultatet (ge naturen en röst!). Det innebär också att politisera planeringen. Genom att tydliggöra att det finns flera olika önsk­värda framtider kan planeringens politiska innehåll synliggöras. Dessa olika fram­tidsbilder kan utvärderas i termer av miljörättvisa, deras jäm­ställdhets­perspektiv eller någon specifik miljöaspekt som biologisk mångfald. Detta skulle tydliggöra att olika framtider är olika bra för naturen och/eller olika sam­hälls­grupper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. 51 p.
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2011-07
National Category
Civil Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33672 (URN)978-91-7501-000-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, F2, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
QC 20110520Available from: 2011-05-20 Created: 2011-05-13 Last updated: 2011-09-13Bibliographically approved

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