The Politics of Gendered Work and Representation in the Nordic Screen Industries

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Journal of Scandinavian Cinema

 CFP: The Politics of Gendered Work and Representation in the Nordic Screen Industries

Special issue,  Journal of Scandinavian Cinema (2022)

Guest Editors: Louise Wallenberg and Maaret Koskinen (Stockholm University)


In the aftermath of the Me-too movement, during an ongoing pandemic and in the midst of  repeated demands for a 50/50 split between men and women in above-the-line positions in the film industry, the Journal of Scandinavian Cinema calls for novel and provocative articles that analyse and interrogate the politics of gender in the Nordic screening industries. While the Nordic film industries are all affected by these demands, movements and transformations, different actors may enact and experience them in different ways. To address these complexities, this special issue invites contributions that explore how they play out in different national contexts. This may include, but is not limited to, contributions that investigate the distribution of creative and professional roles, work life conditions and experiences, and/or the representation of gender on and off screen. 

Film and media studies have a long history of exploring gender in relation to its visual representation: In the early 1970s specific attention was directed at the portrayal of women on the screen (Rosen 1973; Haskell 1974; Mulvey 1975), and then (following the introduction of masculinity studies in the early 1980s), the analytical focus came to include representations of men and masculinity (e.g. Neal 1981; Cohan and Hark 1993; Tasker 1993). With the emergence of queer studies and theory in the early 1990s, the analytical focus widened to include a much less normative expression of genders, sexes and sexualities (e.g. Dyer 1991; Doty 1993; White 1999). In the last decade, the gender focus has partly spread beyond the screen to include investigations of production and representation in the workplace (e.g. Banks 2009, 2016; Jansson et al. 2020; Savolainen 2020), of work life experiences (e.g. Sörensen and Villadsen 2014; Jones and Pringle 2015; O’Brien 2019; Liddy 2020) and of specific women film workers and their agency, production and resistance (e.g. Soila 2005; Gaines 2018; Stigsdotter, ed. 2019; Ryberg 2019; Jansson and Wallenberg 2020, 2021; Skadegård Thorsen 2020; Jansson et al. 2021).

The changing production patterns and conditions urge us to revisit gender and the politics of work and representation. There is reason to suspect that the male norm still dominates most of the Nordic screen industries and its productions, and hence, sociologist Joan Acker’s notion of ‘ideal worker’ is still applicable (Acker 1990, 1998, 2006). This concept has inspired critical scholars of organization and work life (e.g. Pocock 2005; Adkins 2019; Pullen et al. 2019), while it has received little interest in film and media studies. The concept is useful for understanding how gendered workplaces – the film industry being one such place – prioritize and reward certain abilities over others (assuming women to be less creative and professional than their male counterparts).

We envision a variety of articles and short subjects in terms of topics and methodology and we welcome articles that are either textually focused (engaging in theoretically supported visual analyses) and/or articles analysing work conditions and experiences. The aim is to highlight how gender continues to constitutes a ‘challenge’ for screening industries in the Nordic area and how gender – as a simultaneously fixed and malleable construction – continues to pose a problem in terms of both cultural (i.e. visual) and political (i.e. professional) representation.

Specific topics of interest:

Examining aspects of various kinds of gendered film and TV work, screen (and institutional) representation, and agency through the lenses of work, organization, inequality, exploitation and resistance, we invite papers that interrogate a wide range of topics, including:

  • Film and TV as systems of gendered representations
  • Gendered work experiences in the screen industries
  • Film and gender equality efforts on the state level
  • Gendered representation: portrayal vs. presence
  • Post-Metoo: (Women) film/TV workers and sexual harassment
  • COVID-19 and its impact on film workers in terms of gender


Timeline for contributions:

Projected timeline: Proposals due: 15 May 2021. Full article submission due: 15 November 2021. All contributions will undergo double blind peer review with publication planned for July 2022. Both Feature articles (6000 words) and Short subjects (2-3000 words) are welcome. Please email the guest editors Louise Wallenberg and Maaret Koskinen if you wish to discuss potential contributions. 


Acker, Joan (1990), ‘Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations’, Gender and Society 4:2, pp. 139-58.

Acker, Joan (1998), ‘The future of 'gender and organizations': connections and boundaries’, Gender, Work and Organization 5:4, pp. 195-206.

Acker, Joan (2006), ‘Inequality regimes: Gender, class, and race in organizations’, Gender and Society 20:4, pp. 441-64.

Adkins, Lisa (2019), ‘Work in the shadow of finance: Rethinking Joan Acker's materialist feminist sociology’, Gender, Work and Organization 26:12, pp. 1776-85.

Banks, Miranda J. (2009), ‘Gender below the line: Defining feminist production’, in V. Mayer, M. J. Banks and J. T. Calwell (eds), Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Histories, New York: Routledge.

Banks, Miranda (2018), ‘Production studies’, Feminist Media Histories 4:2, pp. 157-61.

Cohan, Steven and Hark, Ina Rae (eds) (1993), Screening the Male, London and NewYork: Routledge.

Doty, Alex (1993), Making Everything Perfectly Queer, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dyer, Richard (1991), Now You See It, London: Routledge.

Gaines, Jane (2018), Pink-Slipped: What Happened to Women in the Silent Film Industries? Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Haskell, Molly (1974), From Reverence to Rape. The Treatment of Women in the Movies, New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston.

Jansson, Maria et al. (2020), ‘Studying women in Swedish film production: Methodologiocal considerations’, Journal of Scandinavian Cinema 10:2, pp. 207-14.

Jansson, Maria et al. (2021), ‘The final cut: Directors, producers and the gender regime in the Swedish film industry’, Gender, Work and Organization,

Jansson, Maria and Wallenberg, Louise (2020), ‘Experiencing male dominance in Swedish film production’, in S. Liddy (ed.), Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice, Power, London: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 163-78.

Jansson, Maria and Wallenberg, Louise (forthcoming 2021), ‘Negotiating motherhood in Sweden – on and off screen’, in S. Liddy and A. O’Brian (eds), Mothers and Motherhood: Negotiating the International Audio-visual Industry,London: Palgrave.

Jones, Deborah and Pringle, Judith K. (2015), ‘Unmanagble inequalities: Sexism in the film industry’, The Sociologiocal Review 63:S1, pp. 37-49.

Liddy, Susan (ed.) (2020), Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice, Power, London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Mulvey, Laura (1975), ‘Narrative cinema and visual pleasure’, Screen 16:3, pp. 6-18.

Neale, Steven (1983), ‘Masculinity as spectacle’, Screen 24:6, pp. 2-17.

O’Brien, Anne (2019), Women, Inequality and Media Work, London: Routledge.

Pocock, Barbara (2005), ‘Work/care regimes: Institutions, culture and behaviour and the Australian case’, Gender, Work and Organization 12:1, pp. 32-49.

Pullen, Alison et al. (2019), ‘Remembering Joan Acker through friendship, sociological thought and activism’, Gender, Work and Organization 26:12, pp. 1669–75.

Rosen, Marjorie (1975), Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies and the American Dream, New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan.

Ryberg, Ingrid (2019), ‘An elevated feminist ahead of her time? Mai Zetterling’s non-fiction shorts in the 1970s and 1980s’, in I. Stigsdotter (ed.), Making the Invisible Visible: Re-Claiming Women’s Agency in Swedish Film, Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Savolainen, Tarja (2020), ‘To change or not to change? Women and gender equality in the Finnish film industry’, in S. Liddy (ed.), Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice, Power, London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Skadegård, Thorsen and Tess, Sophie (2020), ‘Gendered representation in Danish film’, in S. Liddy (ed.), Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice, Power, London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Soila, Tytti (2005), Att synliggöra det dolda: om fyra svenska kvinnors filmregi, Oxford: Symposium.

Stigsdotter, Ingrid (ed.) (2019), Making the Invisible Visible: Re-claiming Women’s Agency in Swedsh Film,Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Sörensen, Bendt and Villadsen, Kaspar (2014), ‘The naked manager: The ethical practice of an anti-establishment boss’, Organization 22:2, pp. 251-68.

Tasker, Yvonne (1993), Spectacular Bodies, London: Routledge.

White, Patricia (1999), Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.