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Crisis Narratives and Masculinist Protection: Gendering the Original Stockholm Syndrome
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4825-6390
2015 (English)In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 17, no 4, 595-610 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Stockholm syndrome, or captor-bonding, is a psychological crisis response to which women are considered especially susceptible. The term was coined in connection with a 1973 hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden. I argue that the syndrome originally indicated a crisis of state authority. The conception of Stockholm syndrome projected a crisis of the legitimate state onto the women hostages and reinforced connections between state protection, masculinity and physical force. Crisis narratives specifically targeted the women's agency, and the state's protector status was restored by gendering dependency and victimhood. The particular circumstances of the original Stockholm incident were a prerequisite for the syndrome's appearance and continue to inform common understandings and scholarly writing on the syndrome. When crisis discourse appropriates the Stockholm syndrome, a unitary perspective and gendered foundations of state power are reinforced. Possibilities of divergent perspectives and counter-discourses, which are critical to feminist interventions into crisis narratives, are thereby diminished.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 17, no 4, 595-610 p.
Keyword [en]
Stockholm syndrome, crisis narratives, masculinist protection, gender, trauma response
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121102DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2015.1042296ISI: 000364552100005OAI: diva2:856039
Available from: 2015-09-23 Created: 2015-09-23 Last updated: 2015-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Åse, Cecilia
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