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Lonely at the top. Gendered media elites in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Monika Djerf-Pierre
Published in Journalism
Volume 6
Issue 3
Pages 265-290
ISSN 1464-8849
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 265-290
Language en
Keywords gender and media elites, gender and media organizations, gender and power, journalism field, Bourdieu, Sweden
Subject categories Media and Communications, Gender Studies


The Nordic countries are often noted for their high level of gender equality. The media sector is no exception and it is true that almost 50 percent of Swedish journalists are female. However, female presence at the senior level of media organizations remains much lower. This article analyses the Swedish media elite from a gender perspective. It is based on a survey study among all top-level managers (the Swedish national institutional elites) in seven different social fields and interprets the results by drawing upon Bourdieu’s theories on habitus, capital and field and Toril Moi’s ‘appropriation’ of Bourdieu (in the essay ‘Appropriating Bourdieu’, in What is a Woman? And Other Essays). Differences and similarities between men and women in the media elite are identified and analysed, including differences regarding social background and the amount and type of capital they have accumulated when reaching the top. The main conclusion is that the acquisition of social capital is of major significance to counterbalance the negative capital of femaleness in reaching a senior management position in the media.

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