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Don't touch my hair: A Qualitative Study on Professional Norms and Meanings of Black Female Hair in Swedish Public Administration
University West, Department of Economics and IT, Division of Law, Politics and Economics.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This single case study conducted with creative interviews, addresses perceptions of professional norms and meanings of black female hairstyles in Swedish public administration. By incorporating prior U.S scholarship and applying intersectional theory, black female hair is analyzed through social constructions of gender, race and class as intermeshed dimensions. This study indicates how the norms of neutrality, disadvantage black female employees in Swedish public administration, as they are subjected to stares, comments and touching of their "deviant" hairstyles. The intersectional analysis indicates how perceptions of femininity and blackness collide in problematic ways, as black professional hair is described as straight hair. Despite this, the informants were convinced that straight hair does not come naturally for black women. Concluding, this study suggests that black women may be more seriously taken, by presenting a "feminine" and "neutral" hairstyle, through subjecting themselves to perceived straight hair norms in Swedish public administration

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
professional, norms, black, hair, Sweden
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-6438Local ID: EIS501OAI: diva2:732405
Subject / course
Political science
Educational program
Available from: 2014-07-07 Created: 2014-07-04 Last updated: 2014-08-11Bibliographically approved

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Division of Law, Politics and Economics
Political Science

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