Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics has published a highly interesting special issue on Feminist encounters in research and innovation (September 1, 2021), with guest editors Gabriele Griffin, Yvonne Benschop and Liisa Husu.
The editorial of the special issue emphasizes the importance of feminist perspectives and feminist knowledge for the research and innovation that faces the grand challenges of the 21st century (e.g. ecological sustainability, and digitalization and artificial intelligence), intersecting with deepening inequalities.
In addition to the editorial, this special issue consists of ten research articles. They are grouped into three categories: feminist knowledge, stretching innovation, and career inequalities in research and innovation. However, the articles contribute to at least two of these perspectives as they all draw on feminist research. New alternative ways of understanding ‘innovation’, strongly connected to feminist knowledge, are the focus of three articles (Berglund & Petterson; Petersson McIntyre; Griffin), but also feminist uses of metaphors, as discussed in Moratti’s article, disrupt and unsettle conventional thinking, and thus produce innovations. In the same vein, most articles discuss gender inequalities in research and innovation, starting with Moratti’s analysis of metaphors that undermine women in academia, continuing with gendered paradoxes in the rhetoric of Norwegian information technology education (Corneliussen) and the expressions that ‘undo’ and then also undermine gender in Finnish research and innovation (Korvajärvi). Women face the persistence of gender inequality in all career stages in research and innovation in the Nordic countries (Griffin & Vehviläinen), and in Norwegian information technology (balancing work and motherhood: Seddighi) as well as in small and medium-size family firms in Canada (Hamilton, Thomas & Ruel). Despite this, they also find ways to continue their research and innovation work.
The first article in this special issue is Lea Skewes and Stine Willum Adrian’s research interview, ‘The Long March Through the Patriarchal Institutions: A Dialogue Between Rosi Braidotti and Nina Lykke’. Braidotti and Lykke are internationally well-established feminist scholars, activists and professors who have collaborated for decades. They mirror their lives and mobilities across countries and disciplines, and discuss their careers in institutions under academic capitalism. They reflect each on how they have come to understand feminist research that troubles mainstream epistemologies, and how they have developed Feminist, Gender and Women’s Studies. Although they did not do career planning, they found positions and spaces to develop feminist knowledge and establish new institutions within local, national and European patriarchal institutions. However, they do not claim that the development of feminist knowledge would have been possible for them in any circumstances. The long march included tensions and they had to tackle contradictions. They had to leave, move on, and find new places for knowing. The interview provides an illuminating perspective for the rest of the articles in the special issue. Contradictions and tensions appear all over in research, innovation and entrepreneurship in these articles. Several of these focus on gender inequalities and examine how they persist in current social and cultural practices, while other articles create new ways of understanding and knowing within contradictory institutions and societal practices.
Several research articles in this special issue originate from research conducted in Sweden, Norway and Finland, within the Nordwit centre, and/or from an international workshop ‘Re-thinking Research and Innovation: How Does Gender Matter?’ February 25-27, 2020, held at Uppsala University, both coordinated by Gabriele Griffin.