Mænd og daginstitutionsarbejdets modernisering.

Nielsen, S. B.
Roskilde: RUC.


The objective of this PhD dissertation is primarily to clarify ‘Why do daycare centres seem to be so interested in recruiting male employees?’   This question is broken down into three specific study questions: 1) How can the significance of gender for work at daycare centres be captured conceptually?  2) How has gender influenced work at daycare centres and what significance has been ascribed to gender historically? 3) What is the specific significance of gender for work at Danish daycare centres today?


It is concluded that, as a concept, gender has no clear, unambiguous form.  The concept is undergoing dramatic change and there is continuing debate regarding specific practices. Historically, work at daycare centres has primarily been performed by women. The historical views also apply today in both symbolical and tangible structures, and despite a gradual move towards becoming a more gender-neutral field, this means the field can still be called ‘gendered’. Gender is pivotal in day-to-day work at institutions in terms of the expectations and understanding of the work, found in practice. The modernisation process which has characterised work at daycare centres in recent years demonstrates a two-pronged movement in relation to thematization of gender: Firstly, talking about gender is perceived as irrelevant and unprofessional. Secondly gender is actually becoming relevant as a result of modernisation because gender is becoming a barrier or resource in working life.


Two daycare centres were monitored through fieldwork and participant observations. A daycare centre in Frederiksberg, near the centre of Copenhagen, and one in Gladsaxe just north of Copenhagen, were selected on the basis of their profiles as a ‘care institution’ and a ‘learning institution’ respectively.


Nielsen, S. B. (2006). Mænd og daginstitutionsarbejdets modernisering. Roskilde: RUC.

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