Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta


Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
031-786 45 99
Sprängkullsgatan 19
41123 Göteborg
Box 711
40530 Göteborg

Om Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta


Professor (since 2020) and senior lecturer at Political Science Department at University of Göteborg.

My research focuses on gender ethics, public administration and policy. I have examined the conditions for ethics of care in government, both in general and in regard of frontline bureaucrats behavior and judgment. I have explored the relationship between women and lower corruption and theorized on this as a manifestation of care.

Areas of research interest

* Ethics of care and political administration

While bureaucracy emphasizing impartiality is a foundation for government, the state today also perform many other tasks for which other values and ways of reasoning are important, such as care and responsibility. Ethics of care may help to meet these goals and demands.

I have contributed to theories and research on public ethics, by coining the concept of a public ethics of care (PEC) (Stensöta 2010). I elaborated what PECs is, usin both quantitative (2010) and qualitative data (2019). PEC seems not to be more attached to women than men, but better be captured as an organizational feature. I have further discussed how far the merits of PEC reach, does it include all areas of policy? The theoretical answer is that it is relevant whenever relations and/or contextual dependency is addressed (2015; 2016; 2020; also in German 2016).

Together with Annica Kronsell I have argued that the green state benefits from using ethics of care theory and proposed the form of women friendly state 2.0 as the green state (2015; forthcoming).

* Front line bureaucrats

The interest in how policy is shaped in the frontline has also led me to explore the problem of local variation, for example in the granting of sick-leave (2009; 2018

I have also examined whether there are certain features characteristics of frontline work in encompassing welfare states and coined a typology with the role "state-men" as reserved for these welfare states (w. Östergaard Muller 2017).

* Gender and corruption

Why are women less corrupt than men? Together with Lena Wängnerud I have shown that the positive link between more women and lower corruption, established in research, is mediated by institutions, so that a bureaucratic logic suppresses it and an electoral arena logic enforces it (2015; 2018). We have further elaborated on how the gender difference in relation to corruption should be theoretically captured and suggested to see gender as a form of "raw-material" to institutions

* Diminishing political gender differences? Extrapolitical and intrapolitical causes

I have further explored the importance of experiences of for political priorities. In my dissertation (2004) I argued that as care-experiences have expanded from being a private matter to a public matter (both in terms of paid carework and that parents nowadays work, thus spread their private care experience in the public world, we might detect this in the form of policy. I explored wether we can detect consequences of such a spread in care experiences in how the state meets citizens, more precisely in how frontline bureaucrats are intended to work.

The same theoretical idea was thereafter explored using data from Swedish parliamentarians, showing a positive correlation between male parliamentarians interest in social issues and their personal experience of care operationalized as parental leave (2016; 2019).

Related to this I explored what it means to be a feminist in Swedish and Danish Parliament (w. Dahlerus & Karlsson, 2020). And in two article citizens responses to welfare policy retrenchment in immigration development (w. Bendz 2019; w. Andersson & Bendz, 2018).

* Child and youth wellbeing

I have examined the problem of welfare state and generation, especially the young, discussing how different welfare states invest differently in the young (w. Engster 2011; 2019). And I have examined gender, grades and wellbeing among your (w. Nordlander 2014).

* Gender equality in practice

I have also conducted several investigations of gender equality with the aim of changing the organizational culture, at Chalmers (2016; 2010) but also as part of government assignment (2009; 2010) and at University of Göteborg (2019).