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Björklund, Erika
Publications (10 of 23) Show all publications
Björklund, E., Nordlöf, H. & Djupsjöbacka, M. (2018). Discourses about electricians in vocational education. In: : . Paper presented at IAACS 2018 'Transnational Curriculum Inquiry: Challenges and Opportunities in a Changing World', 9-12 December, Victoria, Australia.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discourses about electricians in vocational education
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Students in vocational education to become electricians have an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) once in the workforce compared to most other blue collar professions (Toomingas et al., 2014). This increased risk comes from having to work in awkward body positions, with heavy and sometimes poorly adapted tools and with time constraints. Many end up with chronic disabilities, forcing them to change careers or to go on sickness pension. Besides the significant and damaging consequences for the individual concerned, losing electricians from the workforce is a significant loss for the building industry in which electricians these days are scarce, and for society that not only loses tax-incomes but also possibly need to pay sickness pension for these people during quite a few years. It is therefore important to find ways to prevent MSDs and to promote good ergonomics in the building industry in general and among electricians specifically. Electricians’ knowledge and habits regarding MSDs are first formed and shaped in school, during vocational education to become an electrician. Drawing on the ideas of bio-power and governmentality, as introduced and developed by Foucault (1988, 1990, 2003) and developed by Rose (1999; Rabinow and Rose, 2006), discourses govern how it is possible to think and act. From this standpoint, then, talk and discourses are not perceived as innocent or ‘mere’ talk (Hall, 2001) but as governing the production, regulation and representation of both bodies and subjects through the acquisition of specific dispositions, tastes and abilities (Foucault, 1988; Rose, 1999). Thus, discourses drawn on in school about electricians and the profession govern how it is possible to think and act about oneself and others in relation to both ergonomics and MSD and, by extension, have material effects on electricians’ health. This means that, to foster healthy ergonomics one needs to consider how electricians and the profession are conceived and thought about in school, i.e. how electricians and the profession are discursively conceived. The purpose of this paper is thus to explore discursive constructions of electricians and the profession as these are expressed in discussions about MSDs in the vocational education and school context. Methods used are four focus group interviews: two with students, one with teachers and one with school management at one senior high school program for electricians. In the focus group interviews the participants were asked to discuss ideas about causes and reasons to why electricians develop MSDs, consequences and effects of MSDs and ideas about what could be done to prevent MSDs. The interviews were then transcribed and discursively analyzed with questions in mind about how each group conceived of electricians and the profession.

Keywords
Vocational education, electrician, musculoskeletal disease, ergonomics, discourse
National Category
Pedagogy Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27010 (URN)
Conference
IAACS 2018 'Transnational Curriculum Inquiry: Challenges and Opportunities in a Changing World', 9-12 December, Victoria, Australia
Available from: 2018-06-14 Created: 2018-06-14 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E., Nordlöf, H. & Djupsjöbacka, M. (2018). Discursive constructions of electricians in discussions about musculoskeletal disorders among professionals in the field. In: : . Paper presented at Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2018 'Education Research Matters: Impact and Engagement', 2-6 december, 2018, Sydney, Australien.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discursive constructions of electricians in discussions about musculoskeletal disorders among professionals in the field
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Electricians have an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) compared to most other blue collar professions. Many end up with chronic disabilities, forcing them to change careers or to go on sickness pension. Besides negative consequences for the individuals concerned, MSDs also have a detrimental impact on the workforce (reduced number of professionals) and on society (financial costs). It is therefore important to find ways to prevent MSDs and to promote good ergonomic behavior. Electricians’ knowledge and habits regarding MSDs are first formed and shaped in school, during vocational education to become an electrician. In the course of this time the students have periods of internship during which they interact with professionals within the field. Drawing on the ideas of bio-power and governmentality, as introduced and developed by Foucault and developed further by Rose, discourses govern how it is possible to think and act. From this standpoint, then, talk and discourses are not perceived as innocent or ‘mere’ talk but as producing and regulating subjects through their acquisition of specific dispositions, tastes and abilities. Thus, discourses drawn on about electricians and the profession during the students’ internship will govern how it is possible for the students to think and act about themselves and others in relation to both ergonomic behavior and MSDs and, by extension, will have material effects on electricians’ health. This means that, to foster healthy ergonomic behavior one needs to consider how electricians are thought of within the field, i.e. how electricians and the profession are discursively conceived. The purpose of this paper is thus to explore discursive constructions of electricians and the profession as these were expressed in discussions about MSDs among professionals in the field.  Two semi-structured focus group interviews and one individual interview with professionals in the field were conducted. The participants were asked to discuss ideas about i) causes as to why electricians develop MSDs, ii) consequences and effects of MSDs, and iii) ideas about what could be done to prevent MSDs. The interviews were transcribed and the material is currently being discursively analyzed with questions in mind about how the participants conceived of electricians and the profession. Results will be presented at the conference, but preliminary analyses suggests that predominant discourses are concerned with the masculinity of electricians as well as with their time pressured work situation, both contributing to casualness towards ergonomic behavior.

Keywords
Vocational education, electrician, musculoskeletal disease, ergonomics, discourse
National Category
Pedagogy Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27626 (URN)
Conference
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2018 'Education Research Matters: Impact and Engagement', 2-6 december, 2018, Sydney, Australien
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Available from: 2018-08-10 Created: 2018-08-10 Last updated: 2018-12-06Bibliographically approved
Djupsjöbacka, M., Björklund, E. & Nordlöf, H. (2018). Utveckling av arbetsmiljöutbildning på yrkesgymnasium för förebyggande av belastningsbesvär och främjandet av ett hållbart arbetsliv för installationselektriker: En förberedande fallstudie. In: Per Lindberg (Ed.), FALF KONFERENS 2018. Arbetet - problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö? Gävle 10-12 juni 2018: Program och Abstracts. Paper presented at FALF KONFERENS 2018 Arbetet - problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö?, 10-12 Juni 2018, Gävle (pp. 92). Gävle: Gävle University Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Utveckling av arbetsmiljöutbildning på yrkesgymnasium för förebyggande av belastningsbesvär och främjandet av ett hållbart arbetsliv för installationselektriker: En förberedande fallstudie
2018 (Swedish)In: FALF KONFERENS 2018. Arbetet - problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö? Gävle 10-12 juni 2018: Program och Abstracts / [ed] Per Lindberg, Gävle: Gävle University Press , 2018, p. 92-Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund och syfte

Många yrkesprogram på gymnasiet utbildar för yrken där vi vet att anställda ofta drabbas av belastningsrelaterad ohälsa. Exempelvis visar data från Arbetsmiljöverket att 9–12% av alla installationselektriker och elmontörer rapporterar besvär orsakade av påfrestande arbetsställningar och att de rapporterar en ettårsprevalens på 6–10% för besvär i nacke, axlar, arm och rygg till följd av arbetet som varit så svåra att det påverkat arbetsförmågan. Forskning har även visat att elever på elteknikprogram löper särskilt hög risk att drabbas av arbetsskada relativt andra utbildningar. Redan under utbildningen bör åtgärder sättas in för att minska dessa risker.

En genomgång av litteraturen visar dock att det finns tydliga brister i hur yrkesprogram förbereder eleverna för ett kommande arbetsliv vad gäller arbetsmiljökunskap och att orsakerna till dessa brister troligen finns inom undervisningens innehåll och utformning, lärares kompetens och samverkan med yrkeslivet under utbildningen. Vidare kan elever-nas attityder till arbetsmiljöundervisning utgöra ett hinder. Sammantaget förefaller hin-dren för en bra arbetsmiljöutbildning på yrkesprogram inom gymnasiet vara komplexa och multifaktoriella.

Innan åtgärder sätts in för att utveckla undervisningen finns därför stort behov av att kartlägga de komplexa orsakssambanden bakom brister inom utbildningen och utifrån det utforma förbättringsåtgärder.

I vår studie avser vi att svara på forskningsfrågan: Hur anser olika intressenter att olika faktorer inom såväl utbildningen som framtida yrkeskontext interagerar och bidrar till uppkomsten av belastningsbesvär hos installationselektriker?

Metod och resultat

Studien har en fallstudiedesign där fokusgrupper och problemträdsanalys används. Pro-blemträdsanalys är en metod för att kartlägga komplexa orsakssamband och att klargöra grundläggande orsaker. Analysen kan därmed säkra att aktiviteter och insatser inte väljs och påbörjas utan att man först har kartlagt kärnproblemets ofta komplexa orsaker grundligt.

Som underlag till problemträdsanalysen kommer fokusgruppsintervjuer att genomföras där personer från samma kategori intressenter separat samtalar om kärnproblemet. Vi kommer genomföra intervjuer separat med elever, lärare, skolledning och representanter från arbetslivet. Problemträdsanalysen genomförs sedan vid ett tillfälle där 2–3 personer från varje intressent; elever, lärare, skolledningen, representanter från arbetslivet och forskare från projektgruppen deltar. Inför sessionen kommer vi att delge deltagarna underlag baserat på resultaten från fokusgruppintervjuerna och vår litteratursökning så att de kan ta del avSession D:2Individuella presentationer: Fysiskt arbetsliv93vad andra intressegrupper/källor identifierat som möjliga orsaksfaktorer. Efter framtagande av problemträd kommer tänkbara lösningar att formuleras i samverkan med alla intressenter för att skapa ett lösningsträd, vilket kommer att utgöra grund för kommande utvecklingsarbete inom utbildningen.

Datainsamling och analyser genomförs under våren 2018 och preliminära resultat kommer att presenteras på konferensen.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2018
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27068 (URN)978-91-88145-28-4 (ISBN)
Conference
FALF KONFERENS 2018 Arbetet - problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö?, 10-12 Juni 2018, Gävle
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Available from: 2018-06-15 Created: 2018-06-15 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. & Wright, J. (2017). Gender and evolutionary theory in workplace health promotion. Health Education Journal, 76(8), 893-905
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender and evolutionary theory in workplace health promotion
2017 (English)In: Health Education Journal, ISSN 0017-8969, E-ISSN 1748-8176, Vol. 76, no 8, p. 893-905Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: Ideas from evolutionary theories are increasingly taken up in health promotion. This articleseeks to demonstrate how such a trend has the potential to embed essentialist and limiting stereotypes ofwomen and men in health promotion practice.

Design: We draw on material gathered for a larger ethnographic study that examined how discourses ofhealth were re-contextualised in four workplace health promotion interventions in Sweden.

Method: This study provided the opportunity to investigate how ideas derived from evolutionary theoriesproduced particular constructs of the healthy employee. A Foucauldian notion of governmentality wasused to examine the rationalities, truths and techniques that informed what we have called a ‘Stone Age’discourse as these contributed to shaping the desires, actions and beliefs of lecturers and participants in theinterventions.

Results: We focus on one intervention which used the Stone Age discourse as an organising idea toconstitute differences in women’s and men’s health through references to women as gatherers and men ashunters, thereby positioning men as the physical, emotional and mental ideal and women as the problematicand lacking ‘other’.

Conclusion: The paper concludes by discussing the implications of such ideas about health and gender forinterventions aimed at changing behaviour and lifestyles.

Keywords
Evolutionary psychology, evolutionary health promotion, gender, governmentality, discourse analysis
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23845 (URN)10.1177/0017896917722372 (DOI)000416366600001 ()2-s2.0-85035751554 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-04-05 Created: 2017-04-05 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. & Wright, J. (2016). Disciplined by pleasure: Pleasure as a mode of governing in health promotion. In: : . Paper presented at Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Transforming Education Research, 27 november - 1 december, 2016, Melbourne, Australia.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Disciplined by pleasure: Pleasure as a mode of governing in health promotion
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research on the notion of pleasure in health promotion (HP) is rare but increasing. It has to some extent been explored for instance in relation to drugs and alcohol (Hold and Treloar 2008, Peele and Grant 1999) and to sexual health (Race 2008), and to a more limited extent in relation to physical activity and dietary habits (Björklund 2008, Vogel and Mol 2014). Coveney and Bunton (2003) provide a more philosophical discussion about what pleasure in HP might entail. Greco (2009) and Race (2008) propose that a focus on pleasure in HP and a problematization of the absence of pleasure in health policy discourse would offer a well-needed shift in interpretations of HP that would contribute to the development of alternative approaches (see also Björklund 2008, Coveney and Bunton 2003, Fullagar 2002, Phoenix and Orr 2014, Segar and Richardson 2014).

Drawing on Foucault’s (1991) power analysis, in which power is perceived as relational and productive, and Foucault’s (1988, 1990, 2003) and Rose’s (1999, see also Rabinow and Rose 2006) ideas about bio-power and governmentality, we will be interrogating pleasure as a technology for shaping, managing and disciplining both bodies and minds, through the acquisition of specific dispositions, tastes and abilities related to health and health practices. The purpose is to analyze the production, regulation and representation of bodies and subjects through both the presence and absence of pleasure in HP practice in four Swedish workplace interventions.

The paper draws on empirical material (field notes from observations and conversations, transcripts from interviews and documents such as course books) gathered for an ethnographic study that examined how discourses of health were contextualized in educational practice, including the interactions between lecturers and participants in the four interventions. The data were read in the context of our theoretically informed questions about the pleasure discourse and what subjectivities it constituted. Our questions were concerned with what values and modes of life, what subjectivities are promoted through the notions of wellness and pleasure in health promotion? That is, what is the subjectivity proper to a notion of a healthy citizen, as produced through a discourse of pleasure?

The analysis shows that the ideal subject produced by the notion of pleasure was a self-responsible and self-governing individual who was able and willing to recognize the boundary between “good”, meaning disciplined, pleasures and “bad” pleasures, as well as able to manage to stay on the “right” side of this boundary.

Keywords
Health promotion, pleasure, biopower, governmentality
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22880 (URN)
Conference
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Transforming Education Research, 27 november - 1 december, 2016, Melbourne, Australia
Available from: 2016-11-28 Created: 2016-11-28 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. & Gustavsson, M. (2016). Review of educational research on ‘health work’ in Swedish Ph.D.-theses during 2005-2014. In: Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education?: . Paper presented at NFPF/NERA’s 44th Congress, NERA 2016, Social justice, equality and solidarity in education, 9-11 March 2016, Helsinki, Finland.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Review of educational research on ‘health work’ in Swedish Ph.D.-theses during 2005-2014
2016 (English)In: Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education?, 2016Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper we examine how health work is manifested in Swedish educational PhD-theses. We define ‘health work’ here broadly, encompassing for instance the work of all kinds of health professionals (such as health educators/promoters, public health workers, nurses, chiropractors, personal trainers, etc), health work through health related reporting in various media (e.g. magazines, web-sites, blogs, etc), and also the health work individuals perform on and for themselves (e.g. lifestyle-oriented activities). Intrinsic to these types of health work are both immanent and more direct processes of education, whereby it becomes a field of interest to educational researchers, and education research into this field of health work in turn becomes of use to health workers/practitioners.

Therefore it is interesting to examine how this field of ‘health work’ is perceived and framed in the perspective of Swedish education research and what questions education research have been asking in this field. The aim of this paper is to explore how health work figures in Swedish education research. What aspects of health work are education researchers in Sweden interested in? What questions are being asked? And hence, how can education research in the field of health work support health workers/practitioners in their work?

In order to answer these questions, we have looked at all of the Swedish doctoral theses in education published during the years of 2005-2014. During this period, there were 666 theses published, of which 108 were selected in the first selection, and of these, 74 were selected in the third selection. With a broad operationalization of ‘health’ and ‘health work’, the 74 theses were then further analyzed to determine how health figured in the theses and to answer the rest of the research questions. Here, a distinction was made between theses that had an explicit focus on health work in their research questions and those that did not. The analysis further consisted of categorizing the theses depending on how central or marginal issues of health work were in the studies and on whether health work was an implicit or explicit aspect of the study. The analysis was also concerned with finding common themes or issues or arenas etc.

The preliminary results show that very few theses in education directly relate to health work. The most common areas studied are the school subject of Physical health and education (Idrott och hälsa-ämnet), student health (elevhälsa), health care (hälso- och sjukvård), and sports (idrott). Quite a few studies are concerned with issues of professionalization and many want to understand learning processes related to various illnesses or chronic conditions that people live with, while very few studies have research questions that directly relate to practices of health promotion, i.e. issues of influencing health practices from a salutogenic (“positive health”) perspective.

Keywords
Education, Health, Review
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21847 (URN)
Conference
NFPF/NERA’s 44th Congress, NERA 2016, Social justice, equality and solidarity in education, 9-11 March 2016, Helsinki, Finland
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-22 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. & Gustavsson, M. (2016). Review of educational research within the territory of health in Swedish Ph.D.-theses during 2005-2014. In: : . Paper presented at Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Transforming Education Research, 27 november - 1 december, 2016, Melbourne, Australia.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Review of educational research within the territory of health in Swedish Ph.D.-theses during 2005-2014
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

According to Kickbusch (2007), lately health has grown in societal significance to such a degree that we can talk about a shift to a “health society”. From a pedagogical perspective, this shift can be understood as a shift in mentality (Ödman, 1995), meaning a shift in how we think about and understand society and ourselves. In this “health society”, and perhaps with increased impact since the introduction of the notion of health promotion in the 1980s (Nutbeam 2008), health has become both a commodity and a trade (fitness market, health foods, alternative therapies, health tourism, cosmetic surgery, etc, see Kickbusch 2007). With its increased reach, and considering the importance of education to health work, one question is how health figures in education research. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to explore this, with Swedish Ph.D. theses as an example. It asks: What aspects of health and health society are educational researchers in Sweden interested in? How is health perceived and framed in the perspective of educational research? What questions are being asked? And hence, how can educational research within the territory of health support health workers/practitioners in their work? The empirical material is based on Swedish doctoral theses in education published during the years of 2005-2014 (n = 666). Through two selection stages, guided by a broad conceptualization of health, 74 theses were identified as health related and selected for analysis to determine how health figures in the theses with regard to the research questions. The preliminary results show that few theses in education directly relate to health. The most common areas studied are the school subject of physical health and education, student health, health care, and sports. Quite a few studies are concerned with issues of professionalization and many want to understand learning processes related to various illnesses or chronic conditions that people live with, while few studies have research questions that relate to practices of (salutogenic) health promotion or the profession of health promotion. In conclusion, health figures in educational research primarily in terms of various health related arenas as objects of study, and to a more limited extent as an object of knowledge.

Keywords
Review, Ph.D.-theses, education, health
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22879 (URN)
Conference
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Transforming Education Research, 27 november - 1 december, 2016, Melbourne, Australia
Available from: 2016-11-28 Created: 2016-11-28 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. (2014). Risk and pleasure in health promotion. In: : . Paper presented at 2014 International Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, AARE-NZARE 2014, 30 november - 4 december, 2014, Brisbane, Australia.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Risk and pleasure in health promotion
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

One of the perpetual issues in health promotion is the issue of compliance. Researchers and practitioners work to understand and identify the mechanisms and find the magic formula for how to achieve that long-term compliance regarding healthy behavior. Since the poststructuralist ‘linguistic turn', language has come to be conceived as performative (rather than representational) and as such is also of great interest in education as a central aspect of learning: language has come to be perceived as central to our way of understanding our world, and how we understand our world may be perceived as central to how we come to act in this world. Hence, how health is talked about may be expected to have an impact on behavior, on compliance. When the notion of ‘health' is discussed, in research and by lay-people, it is often described by using binaries such as health/disease, healthy/unhealthy, risk/resource, etc. In a study on health promotion initiatives in the workplace (Björklund 2008), another binary emerged: risk/pleasure. By drawing on Derrida's notion of différance to interrogate the binary of risk/pleasure this paper seeks to deconstruct this notion of health. This deconstruction exposes expectations that are placed on the recipients of health promotion initiatives.  The analysis also illustrates the dialectical relationship between risk and pleasure and explores inclusive spaces for understanding other ways of thinking about health.

Keywords
Health, risk, well-being, difference
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-17397 (URN)
Conference
2014 International Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, AARE-NZARE 2014, 30 november - 4 december, 2014, Brisbane, Australia
Available from: 2014-08-22 Created: 2014-08-22 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. (2013). Teaching employees to “do” health and wellness: Wellness inspirers as a technology of workplace health promotion. In: : . Paper presented at The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), 10-13 September 2013, Istanbul, Turkey.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching employees to “do” health and wellness: Wellness inspirers as a technology of workplace health promotion
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

General description of research questions, objectives and theoretical framework

This paper takes issue with corporate concern for shaping and governing employees’ health and wellness. Corporations have long been concerned with employee health, but this concern has shifted from a focus on occupational health and safety to include individual health and wellbeing (Bjurvald 2004, Björklund 2008). This is much in line with neo-liberal developments in the public health field internationally in which the advance of a culture of risk has resulted in individuals needing to become self-regulating and self-forming (Turner 1997). This focus on individual health and wellbeing through self-regulation and self-formation has resulted in the development of various health promoting interventions, for instance in the workplace. Workplace health promotion interventions have been described as a two-edged sword (Lupton 1995, but see also for instance Allender, Colquhoun & Kelly 2006a, 2006b and  Maravelias 2009, 2012), meaning that interventions and programs concerned with employee health signal philanthropic motives on the part of the employers at the same time as they signal a control over employees’ bodies, exhorting them to engage in specific activities and not others in their spare time. Health promotion in the workplace thus serves to foster a culture of health consciousness and a desire to lead a healthy life, teaching employees what, how and why they should do in order to become happy and fulfilled with their lives and thus be more desirable employees.

As part of a discursive trend, workplace health promotion is being organized and governed on a European level by for instance a European Network for Workplace Health Promotion (ENWHP). The network aims at promoting good practice in workplace health promotion in all European countries, defining workplace health promotion as “the combined efforts of employers, employees and society to improve the health and well-being of people at work” (ENWHP 1997/2007:2). Basic network consensus on goals, vision and mission are recorded in policy documents, or declarations. For example, in the Luxembourg Declaration (ENWHP 1997/2007), implementing policies and practices that enhance employee health by making the healthy choices the easy choices is encouraged. The Luxembourg Declaration also points to important actions for improving workplace health, one of which involves promoting active participation. In an ever more health focused and neo-liberal society, corporations have started to introduce wellness inspirers into the workplace. A wellness inspirer is a regular employee who receives a couple of days of training in order to, besides their regular work duties, also function as an inspirer to help develop healthier lifestyle habits among the staff. The introduction of wellness inspirers to help advance employees’ health and wellness can hence be regarded as an example of promoting active participation among employees, and in this manner, wellness inspirers function as a technology of workplace health promotion. The purpose of this paper is therefore to explore how this phenomenon of wellness inspirers and their role in the workplace and workplace health promotion are discursively construed and operate to govern employees’ health and wellness.

Methods/methodology

The study is based on empirical data in the form of student theses and organization reports and evaluations on workplace health promotion with a specific focus on wellness inspirers. Original student theses were searched in DiVA which is an open database and archive for research publications and student theses produced in Sweden. The search term “hälsoinspiratör” (“wellness inspirer”) was used. Searches were also performed using the same search term on Scholar Google to find reports and evaluations from organizations using wellness inspirers. Out of a total of 103 references, 29 publications were selected.

The publications used were then analyzed using discourse theory, guided by Foucault’s (1978/2003) notion of governmentality. In Rose’s (1999:20) words, governmentality is to analyze “what authorities of various sorts wanted to happen, in relation to problems defined how, in pursuit of what objectives, through what strategies and techniques”. In this study, this relates to the discursive constructions of wellness inspirers, their responsibilities and organization which were analyzed in relation to the techniques for governing that the discourses produced in the name of health and wellness. What discourses were mobilized and what practices for governing of the self and others did those discourses produce?

Expected outcomes/results

The findings show a high degree of consistency between different organizations and different parts of the country regarding how the wellness inspirer was constituted. The wellness inspirer generally had a network of other wellness inspirers to turn to but was also expected to be self-sufficient in producing activities and inspiring co-workers, making it somewhat of a solitary endeavor. In the studied material, the wellness inspirer is also depicted as someone who offers inspiration, energy and good spirits. In this description of the wellness inspirer – or the expectations placed on the wellness inspirer – health and wellbeing is conceived as something that can be imparted upon and shared with people by the means of mere good cheer.

Keywords
workplace health promotion, wellness inspirer, governmentality
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-15137 (URN)
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), 10-13 September 2013, Istanbul, Turkey
Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-09-05 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Björklund, E. & Wright, J. (2012). Troubling the Notion of the ‘Stone Age’ in Health Promotion: a gender analysis. In: AARE-APERA 2012. Paper presented at Joint international Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and the Asia Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) and the Focal Meeting of the World Education Research Association (WERA), Sydney, December 2-6, 2012..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Troubling the Notion of the ‘Stone Age’ in Health Promotion: a gender analysis
2012 (English)In: AARE-APERA 2012, 2012Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper describes and discusses how gender is constituted in a Swedish workplace health promotion intervention which focused on diet and physical activity, through the resources of what we have called a ‘Stone Age’ discourse. The paper draws on material gathered for a larger study that examined how discourses of health are contextualized in educational practice and interaction between educators and participants in four different workplace health promotion interventions. The purpose of the interventions was to help employees change (improve) their lifestyle as concerns dietary and physical activity habits. Data was collected for the original study by ethnographic methods such as participation observation of the interaction between educators and participants. Foucault’s ideas about governmentality were utilized in analyzing the interactions in order to investigate how health discourses were drawn on and the technologies of power and of the self by which the participants were governed and invited to govern themselves in the name of health. From these analyses, various discourses were identified on which the participants and particularly the educators drew to constitute the healthy employee. One of these was a discourse, which in this paper is called a ‘Stone Age’ discourse, because of the ways in which the differences in men and women’s health were explained in its most overt form by reference to women as gatherers and men as hunters, with men as a result positioned as the physically, emotionally and mentally ideal and women as the problematic and lacking ‘Other’. While this discourse, in this form, may be unique to Scandinavian countries, this paper will nevertheless indicate how this notion corresponds to ideas from evolutionary theory and medicine in international research on health and wellness. This paper will also discuss the implications of such ideas about health and gender for interventions aimed at changing behavior and lifestyles. The paper will provide a discussion of the specific rationalities, truths and techniques that informed the 'Stone Age' discourse, as these contributed to shaping desires, actions and beliefs.

Keywords
Workplace health promotion, evolutionary health promotion, Stone Age, gender
National Category
Pedagogy Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-12792 (URN)
Conference
Joint international Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and the Asia Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) and the Focal Meeting of the World Education Research Association (WERA), Sydney, December 2-6, 2012.
Available from: 2012-09-07 Created: 2012-09-07 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
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