About the glossary

The purpose of this glossary is to make it easier for visitors to genus.se to navigate in and understand the field of gender studies. We want to give a nuanced view of ongoing discussions in the field and inform the reader about the different definitions, interpretations and areas of use of terms and concepts. The aim is for the texts to be both informative and accessible to the reader.

Compiling a glossary is not an easy task, especially in a field in which the meaning of terms is subject to continuous development and discussion. We began with a list of 250 words collected from various Swedish gender research environments. Guided by the intention with the glossary, we then handpicked 15 terms for the first version. The selection and our explanations of these terms are the outcome of a series of decisions that of course could have been made in more than one way. We saw it as important to begin with terms that we feel are used frequently in the field, on our website and in the contemporary discussion on gender and gender equality. The terms are used sometimes with clear definitions and sometimes with highly variable meanings, and sometimes concepts that ‘everybody’ is expected to understand are casually thrown around. We want to bring attention to this occasional ambiguity and how the interpretation of terms is always related to the context in which they are used.

In the glossary, we have chosen not to refer to specific sources. However, this does not mean that we have not utilised the excellent scholars or all the documented knowledge that the field has to offer. Our ambition with the glossary is not to provide a ‘correct’ or ‘final’ definition of various terms and concepts. Instead, our aspiration to point out varying understandings, and uses, of central terms implies less of a focus on influential individuals and their respective contributions to the rich language used in the field of gender studies. We are indebted to them for all of their work and will in the future include the titles of books and names of individuals that we believe have been key to each respective term.

Terms and concepts continuously travel and change in meaning and it is our hope that our glossary will be a dynamic component of genus.se. The list will be expanded, in terms of both the number of terms included and the content associated with each term. Our ideas for the future include audio files, recommended reading and more examples of how the terms are applied and are changing. We welcome suggestions for other ideas and suggestions on how to make the list better.

Maja Lundqvist has led the development of the glossary together with Jimmy Sand and Josefine Alvunger. The other staff members at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research have supported the work by reading, commenting on and discussing the texts. The first version of the glossary was published on 10 June 2016.