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Den välplanerade sexualiteten: frihet och kontroll i 1970-talets svenska sexualpolitik
Stockholm University.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The wellplanned sexuality : Freedom and control in the Swedish sexual politics of the 1970s (English)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this dissertation is to give a perspective on the governmentality in official texts on Swedish sexual politics, focusing on the first half of the 1970s. The study also aims at understanding of the strategies of the sexual politics of the 1970s, with reference to earlier time periods, i.e. the study also includes analyses of sexual policy texts from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. The relation between the scope of action-limitations and authority-individual, presented and maintained in the texts, is analyzed, as well as what techniques, strategies and forms of influence can be understood in the examined material. The theoretical guidelines along which this research is organized are based on Michel Foucault’s and his followers’ analyses of the so-called modern welfare state’s strategies for governing, for which the term governmentality is used. The term is used as an analytical tool for clarifying strategies for governing and conceptions of sexuality when working with the material. The material consists of interviews, internal and external texts from authorities and official government commissions. The result of the study shows that in the texts of the early 1970s a breach is made in the way of talking about rationality for governing. The medical-technical development and the rewriting of the abortion law creates legitimacy for new ways of speaking of conceptions about sexuality as well as influence. From an earlier representation of the citizen as a passive object, to be governed from above in a certain direction, an interactive strategy is now offered. The human being as an individual is chiselled out, and the idea that the main responsibility for one’s own and other persons’ happiness rests on the individual and not on the authority makes a dialectical leap. The strategies for governing become horizontal, where terms like personal talks and dialogue are given a prominent position. Several functions, earlier handled without government interference, become a public matter in the 1970s. This involves medical records and registration, leading to an extensive investigation of women’s sexual patterns which, according to Foucault, can be seen as a biopolitical exercise of power. Different measures are suggested during different periods and also reflect how the picture of gender, sexuality and society is legitimized. In this respect, men’s sexuality is left outside the observation and control of the authorities. Simultaneously, women’s new influen-ce on sexuality and reproduction can be seen as an educational project which to a great extent is also aimed at regulating men’s sexuality. The discursive formation does not follow any distinct calender time. The overriding objects of change are women and youth, where above all women are in focus. Women are constantly represented as exposed and in need of support and assistance. They are considered to sometimes need to be open and sometimes to keep back their sexuality. Men are pictured as unmanageable and unreliable. The trend is to emancipate women from men and from the patriarchal family as a system for economy and care, in reassuring an economic and emotional independence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: HLS Förlag, 2001. , 234 p.
Studies in educational sciences, ISSN 1400-478X ; 37
Keyword [en]
governmentality, sexual politics, biopolitics, gender, emancipation, scope of action, sexual education, public discourse, Gotland Project.
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-72258ISBN: 91-7656-495-9OAI: diva2:490854
Public defence
2001-04-27, 10:00
Available from: 2012-02-06 Created: 2012-02-06Bibliographically approved

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