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Discursive discrimination of the 'mentally deficient' in interwar Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2006 (English)In: Disability & Society, Vol. 22, no 6Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article shows, firstly, one way in which discrimination in discourse, that is, discrimination performed through the use of language, can be studied with the help of a set of concepts: exclusion from discourse; negative other-presentation; objectification; and proposals pointing towards unfavourable treatment. The concept of othering is also used. Secondly, an empirical study of the discursive treatment of people labelled 'mentally deficient' in interwar Sweden is presented. The parliamentary debate on a new sterilisation law, encyclopaedic entries and medical descriptions are focused. The results reveal that the group in question was blatantly discriminated against, by means of all of the forms of discursive discrimination mentioned, and was also othered. It is suggested that the set of concepts could be useful for comparative studies of discursive treatment of people categorised as 'mentally deficient' in other countries during the same period and for studies of possible contemporary discrimination.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 22, no 6
Keyword [en]
discrimination, discourse, Sweden, mental deficiency, sinnesslöhet
National Category
Social Work Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16215OAI: diva2:182735
Available from: 2008-12-15 Created: 2008-12-15 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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