CPW 11/8/17 -Strand on Gender and sexuality in Swedish defense discourses

Please join the Comparative Politics Workshop on Wednesday, November 8th from 4:15-6:15pm at the Political Science Thesis Room (5th floor). Sanna Strand (University of Gothenburg) will be presenting her paper, “A country to fall in love in’ – Gender and sexuality in Swedish defense discourses.” The paper is attached and the abstract is below. Come to support your peer, engage in a lively discussion, share free wine and snacks, and network with your department.

To download the paper, click here


Gender mainstreaming measures adopted by armed forces have gained scholarly attention for the ways in which they contribute to enhance legitimacy for military institutions, perform national identities and order international politics. This article aims to contribute to this research by analysing how gendered and sexualized subjectivities are called upon in Swedish defense discourses. In a recent military information campaign, Sweden is performed as a “progressive” nation-state whose citizens hold values, rights and freedoms considered “extreme in the eyes of others”, thus constructed as in need of protection by the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). This notion of Swedish ‘progressiveness’ – often represented as equality between people of all sexual orientations and gender identities – is epitomized in the campaign slogan “Sweden, a country to fall in love in” and communicated against the backdrop of a rainbow flag. This paper probes how the myth of a gender exceptional nation works within broader discursive terrains constituting a military institution undergoing large- scale transformations. We argue that constructions of a tolerant and progressive Sweden risks making invisible domestic discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, (re)produce treacherous, single narratives of distant and dangerous Others and, ultimately, enable the ongoing rearmament of the SAF.