My research is mainly focused on the field of gender and education. In 2008 my doctoral thesis Teacher dreams. On power, diversity and constructions of teacher subjectivities was presented. As indicated by the title, the thesis addresses teacher education from the point of view of power and identity. These two interrelated topics, power and identity, have been foregrounded throughout my research career.
Being an ethnographer and gender scholar I'm intersted in how power is practiced in mundane educational contexts, e.g. the playgrounds of preschools and schools or in classroom practices in upper secondary school and higher education. Inspired by e.g. Michel Foucault and Judith Butler I regard power as a productive force which play a crucial role in the forming of social and cultural identites. I'm intrigued by the double sided nature of power, simultaneuosly working to emancipate and imprison identities.
In an ongoing project I am particularly interested in this double sided-ness of power. Physical touch is often regarded as something beneficial for preschool children's well-being. At the same time, however, touch is also surrounded by taboos and regulations. Touch can be considered dangerous and harmful. This, sometimes thin, line between 'good' and 'bad' touching I investigate through interviews with preschool teachers. My aim is to contribute to the professional development of preschool teachers. Previous research has shown that, especially male, teachers refrain from using touch in pedagogical practice, since they are afraid of being blamed for inappropriate touching. Ideally, my research can serve as a ground for preschool teachers to produce a work climate less affected by (gendered) stereotypes.
Several of the research projects I've been involved in have been based on close collaboration with actors both within and outside of academia. In 2012 I and partners from six different Swedish universities concluded one of the hitherto largest collaborative efforts in Sweden to develop leadership in academia with regard to gender equality (a project financed by the Ministry of Education).
Other collaborative projects have been conducted with both public and private sector partners. For example I have worked together with collaborators to enhance gender equality in the engineering industry, schools, health centers and hospitals.
Currently I work part time as researcher at the Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University.
My academic career started in my home town Gävle in 1996. Being the first amongst my relatives to enter higher education I entered academia rather hesitantly and without self confidence. Since then I have experienced a range of academic contexts and cultures both as student and professional, at the Universities of Gävle, Borås, Halmstad, Göteborg and Karlstad. The academic cultures can provide breaking ground for new insights and thoughts, but unfortunately sometimes academia works more as a road block for different groups of people, due to norms related to gender, sexuality, class, race and more. In my work I try to challenge such norms, hoping that it can help students and others not to be hindered in their struggle to make a better life for themselves and others.
Åberg, M. & Hedlin, M. (2015) Happy objects - happy men? Affect and materiality in vocational training. Gender & Education, Vol. 27, No 5, 523-538.
Hedlin, M. & Åberg, M. (2013) The call for more male preschool teachers. Echoed and questioned by Swedish student teachers. Early Child Development and Care, Vol. 183, No. 1, 149-162.
Åberg, M. & Hedlin, M. (2012) Förskolläraren - ett hot? Norsk Pedagogisk Tidskrift, Vol. 96, Nr. 6, 441-452.
Jansdotter Samuelsson, M.; Krekula, C.; & Åberg, M. (eds.) (2012) Gender and change. Power, politics and everyday practices. Karlstad: Karlstad University Press.
Åberg, M.; Jansson, U. & Nahnfeldt, C. (2010) Access as process - on the recession within the engineering industry and its effects on gender research and gender equality work. In L. Husu et al Leadership through the gender lens. Women and men in organisations. Hanken School of Economics, research reports no 71. Helsingfors: Hanken School of Economics.
Åberg, M. (2008) Lärardrömmar. Om makt, mångfald och konstruktioner av lärarsubjekt [Teacher dreams. On power, diversity and constructions of teacher subjectivities. Göteborg: Mara förlag. Doctoral thesis.