From cubicles to open space: An analysis of gendered meanings of workspace

Virve Peteri, Kirsti Lempiäinen, Merja Kinnunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses office spaces and their gendered meanings, specifically concentrating on informal spaces such as coffee rooms, corridors and so-called chill-out areas. The analysis draws on feminist research on space and Henri Lefebvre’s theory of social space, which focuses on how lived space in the workplace is signified and contested. The ethnographic material was gathered in office environments during the 1980s, 1990s and 2010s. The analysis shows that opening up the office space invites new sorts of management of work tasks, social relations and embodiment. The authors suggest that the aim of fostering and capitalizing on informal encounters and spaces – which were typical for women workers in industrial offices – may paradoxically decrease direct meetings and communication in the post-industrial office.
Translated title of the contributionKohti avointa tilaa: Työtilan sukupuolistuneiden merkitysten analyysi
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Feb 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Body
  • ethnographic data
  • gender
  • Henri Lefebvre
  • workspace

Field of science

  • Sociology
  • Gender studies


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