Book chapter abstract

The other woman : Constructing needs in a training project for immigrant and disabled women


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Publication Details

Subtitle: Constructing needs in a training project for immigrant and disabled women

Author list: Olofsdotter, Gunilla

Publisher: Bentham eBooks

Publication year: 2011

Book title (if part of a book): Normalization and ""Outsiderhood"" : Feminist Readings of A Neoliberal Welfare State

Start page: 39

End page: 48

Number of pages: 10

ISBN: 978-1-60805-279-0



The main purpose of this chapter is to discuss the construction of immigrant and disabled womens needs in a training project in relation to normalization and othering. I follow the process of implementing this project by studying documentation from the Swedish Government, The National Board of Health and Welfare, a womens shelter and an interview with and log written by the supervisor of the project at the womens shelter. The analysis shows how normalization takes place through the construction of privileged “normal” positions and “others” in the everyday practices of the project and in official documents. This shows how paradoxes may arise in projects that aim to help people in vulnerable situations. Although measures may be taken at the individual level, structural problems of exclusion and discrimination may persist unchanged. The project constitutes an example of how welfare institutions, by identifying certain groups as different and in need of specific interventions, silently normalize other groups. The displacement of responsibility from Government to a voluntary organization individualizes and atomizes the addressing of structural problems of gender inequality, immigration and support for the disabled. In order to understand the relationship between power and othering in the welfare state and to improve policies aimed at people in vulnerable situation it is therefore important to examine the chain of categorizations that takes place all the way down from Government to voluntary organization.


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