I am Swedish, I am a woman Exploring Swedish women’s identity construction

University essay from Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi

Abstract: The subject explored in this research project is Swedish women’s identity construction. The research questions guiding this thesis aimed at investigating what indications of collective patterns in identity construction could be found in a sample of Swedish women, and how these patterns were understood by a sample of participants in the research. The theoretical approaches included two theories, social constructionism and social representation theory, along with the discussion and definitions of three concepts, identity, gender and narrative studies. The methods used to investigate the research questions were a word association survey (WAS) for the first research question, and in-depth interviews for the second research question. During the in-depth interviews, participants had access to the results of the WAS. In order to take part in this study, limitations for participants included being a woman, having Swedish has a first language, and being willing and able to participate in the study. There were in total 45 respondents to the WAS and two participants in the in-depth interviews. The results were analysed using a method inspired by Hovardas & Korfiatis (2006) in their study using a word association survey, and a method developed by Tesch (cited in Maddy et al., 2015) for the narrative analysis of the in-depth interviews. The discussion assessed the results against the theories and concepts that were part of the theoretical approaches, providing answers to the research questions aforementioned. The answer to the first research question is that participants do hold collective patterns, or social representations, for some of the stimulus words presented in the WAS. The answer to the second research question is that participants in the study understood the results by comparing them to their own perceptions, and checking whether or not they fit in with the results of the WAS. Participants felt that they were part of the social group under analysis.

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