Relational dynamics and strategies: Men and women in a forest community in Sweden [Book Review]

Agriculture and Human Values 21 (4):355-365 (2004)
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This article views gender dynamics and strategies for change in a small Swedish village from a systems perspective. In the context of the struggle for the communal management of forests, tensions arose in the relations among the people in the village who differed in their opinions as to how to approach village development. Some village women argued for the importance of issues other than only community forestry in the development of the community's future livelihoods and well-being. They also believed that linking these activities with each other are vital for the community. Co-operative inquiry with women in the village reveals that, in their view, the community's overall needs are the most meaningful point of departure and not just individual resource management initiatives. They believed that it was vital to link resource management with other developmental activities in the village. The inquiry process also shows how the differences that may arise between men and women are dependent on the context, their relationships, and the networks they activate rather than the differences emerging solely from gender roles or the structure. Attention to how women and men “draw boundaries” around their activities and relationships expands our understanding of the diverse means they use for reaching their objectives. It also highlights the role of innovators who cross these boundaries and work toward change

Author's Profile

Seema Arora-Jonsson
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


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