Gender and emotions control more than we imagine
Name: Britta Lundgren
Britta Lundgren\'s research has addressed many topics but has always placed the gender problematic in focus. Her doctoral thesis was about femininity and occupational culture in the Swedish Post Office and she has subsequently written works on gender in academia, within the family and sexuality, and on emotions and relationships. She continues to give media interviews about a book she wrote about friendship, which she composed early in her career in 1995.
Britta Lundgren\'s current research activities are predominately to act the head of the large programme Challenging Gender, which has been designated as one of three Centers of Gender Excellence by the Swedish Research Council. The programme has several sub-themes and Britta Lundgren is, in addition to her research leadership positions, also involved in the theme that affects relationships and emotions.
“Gender and emotions play a role in almost all areas of our lives whether we are conscious about it or not. I am becoming more and more interested in the consequences of emotions and feelings, despite that we may not always be aware of it,” she says.
In collaboration with other themes in the programme, there have been discussions about legal statutes, which most consider as being neutral, but research has shown that this is not the case.
“When doing an analysis of the texts, you see the significance of emotions and that the judiciary does not act neutrally in the way we often think.”
“You have to accept that emotions are an important part in the decision making process and basically, it also may be something generally universal and hopeful. We need to obtain much more knowledge on how to legitimise various kinds of feelings and how they may or may not control what we do.”
She heads this research programme while simultaneously acting as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts.
“It\'s very interesting for me to head a research programme with such broad themes, because one sees how everything is connected. Pieces of the puzzle emerge from all directions.”
The programme Challenging Gender involves up to 50 individuals, including about twenty who have received partial funding from the programme.
“We are trying to obtain new knowledge from the various themes of work and perhaps find the general and developmental categories to proceed further with. The programme has been assessed by an international panel of judges as unique in its breadth in an international perspective.”
In 2006, Britta released her book titled "Unexpected Death - Expected Mourning (Oväntad död – förväntad sorg)", which is about how people deal with grief and mourning when they lose someone unexpectedly, such as through fatal accidents.
“The deaths were unexpected but there is a cultural expectation of how one should mourn that is also much correlated to gender, it is female coded. Men\'s mourning is often silent, but it obviously does not mean that they do not mourn.”
Public mourning is an area that Britta would now like to examine more closely.
“It has been transforming. I certainly would like to analyse mourning on the Internet. The younger generation’s online usage has changed the perception of public mourning," says Britta Lundgren.
Name: Britta Lundgren
Profession: Professor of ethnology, Dean of the Faculty of Arts
Leisure activities: Dancing Lindy Hop, exercising at the gym, relaxing in front of the TV
Likes to eat: everything
Likes to read: fiction
Member of: the Swedish Royal Skyttean Society, board member of ACSIS (Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden, board member of the Knowledge Foundation and national delegate of the Expert Council for the European Institute for Gender Equality in Vilnius.