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Message posted on 04/03/2021

Online Seminar on Gender Equality and Diversity in Military Organizations

                Dear colleagues,

The Centre for Gender Studies (CGF) at Karlstad University is hosting a
seminar on why gender equality and diversity initiatives fail in military
organizations with Beate Slk-Andersen next Wednesday, the 10th of March at
3:00 PM CET. You can read more info below. If you want to register, please
send an e-mail to:

All the best,


10 March, 15.00-17.00

This seminar will take place on Zoom. If you wish to attend please contact
Jennie Srnmark at
Please remember to register for the seminar before March 8th!

Reasonable Resistance?

Why Diversity and Gender-Integration Policies Tend to Fail in Military

Beate Slk-Andersen, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher

Why have Western military organizations for years and years been able to
"dodge the bullet" when it comes to policies that aim to increase gender
equality and diversity in the surrounding societies - and still to some degree
seem to sidestep such political efforts? This paper examines how and not least
why military organizations resist diversity and gender-integration policies by
examining the rationales behind such resistance, hereby suggesting why such
initiatives tend to fail in military settings.

It is widely documented that political and organizational initiatives to
increase diversity and gender equality - in any sector or profession - do not
necessarily lead to change. This article argues, however, that it is precisely
the extraordinary nature of military work that is invoked as the argument
against such initiatives through the mobilization of a narrative of
exceptionalism. Building on interviews, observations, and document analysis,
the article unboxes this narrative that works to shield military organizations
from requirements and expectations put on "civilian" organizations. So while
it may be difficult to find agreement that there is a problem to be solved in
the first place, militaries are qua the narrative of exceptionalism assumed to
be in their full right not to solve it.

Taking as its point of departure the Danish Defence's diversity policy adopted
in 2011 - a policy that earned the organization an award for its efforts to
promote diversity - this paper illuminates how diversity policies can be
resisted as political ambitions of inclusion and equality are translated into
practice. The paper unfolds how arguments about the armed forces' core task
ends up making the diversity policy into a nonperformative (Ahmed, 2006) as
its success lies in how 'it fails to bring about what it names.'

Author bio

Beate Slk-Andersen is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of
Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Her research focuses on
processes of inclusion/exclusion, diversity, professional boundaries and
embodied processes of professional becoming. Coming from a background in
Ethnology, Slk-Andersen's research is typically founded on ethnographic
fieldwork and pays particular attention to the subtle processes taking place
in everyday life.

Sebastian Mohr

Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies
Managing Editor for NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity

Karlstad University
65188 Karlstad

While most people address me with the pronouns he/him/his, I am thankful for
communication that goes beyond a gender binary.

I will do my best to meet accomodation needs in communication and personal
meetings, so please approach me directly in regard to accessibility.

The politics of Danish IVF: reproducing the nation by making parents through
selective reproductive technologies

The performative effects of diagnosis: thinking gender and sexuality through
diagnostic politics

Men, Masculinities, and Reproduction - Special Issue of NORMA: International
Journal for Masculinity Studies


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