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Legitimerade föräldraskap 1870–2010: En diskurshistorisk undersökning
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism.
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Legitimized Parenthoods 1870–2010 : A Discourse-Historical Study (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to historize discourses of parenthood by analyzing how they are negotiated and legitimized in Swedish non-literary and wide spread texts published in the 1870s, 1940s and 2010s. The analyzed corpus consists of the following: family and women’s movement magazines from the 1870s; a public counseling brochure and weekly magazines from the 1940s; blog texts; online health counseling; parent magazines; and public welfare information from the 2010s. The study moreover aims to make an inventory of which visual and lexico-grammatical resources realize legitimating strategies in the texts.

Theoretically, the thesis draws on constructivist and feminist discourse theories and social semiotics. There is an emphasis on subject positions and power relations. The thesis investigates which parental subject positions are legitimized in the corpus, what power relations they reproduce, and furthermore how different positions are transformed as discontinuities of each other and over time.

The results are presented in four analytical chapters. In the first of these, findings derived from the legitimation analysis of the 1870s are presented. The following two chapters present the results derived from the analysis of the 1940s and 2010s. The fourth research chapter presents an inventory of semiotic resources with the potential to realize legitimating strategies.

One crucial discourse-historical result regards how the position of the mother as primary caretaker predominates in the research data. However, the position is mainly legitimized during the 1870s and transformed into legitimacy during the 1940s and 2010s. The analysis furthermore captures how the same position is legitimized during the 1870s with reference to a discourse concerning a divine order of things. Although this divine discourse is muted during the 1940s and 2010s, it continues to imprint the representations. Moreover, the analysis captures how discourses of legitimate parenthood constitute discourses of manhood, Swedishness, expert knowledge, responsiveness to children, consumption and risk management throughout the investigated periods, yet in discontinuous ways.

The overall conclusion drawn is that legitimized discourses from one historical setting can constitute silent foundations for representations in later historical contexts. By unraveling history from past to present, the thesis shows how it is possible to identify presupposed lineages of today’s ideas and discourses, and thereby to deconstruct hegemonic truths and the power relations they reproduce.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet, Stockholms universitet , 2016. , 249 p.
Stockholm studies in Scandinavian philology, ISSN 0562-1097 ; 61
Keyword [en]
legitimation, discourse-historical analysis, discourse analysis, interdiscursivity, subject position, social semiotics, parenthood
Keyword [sv]
legitimering, diskurshistoria, diskursanalys, subjektsposition, sociosemiotik, social praktik, föräldraskap, föräldraskapshistoria, moderskap, faderskap
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129008ISBN: 978-91-7649-411-0OAI: diva2:918950
Public defence
2016-06-03, Hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-05-11 Created: 2016-04-12 Last updated: 2016-06-02Bibliographically approved

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Westberg, Gustav
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