The Scandinavian States: Reformed Eugenics Applied

Mattias Tydén

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Scandinavian States: Reformed Eugenics Applied


This article deals with Scandinavian eugenics and issues of morality and history, guilt and rehabilitation and it also challenges the conventional conception of Scandinavian contemporary history. It discusses a number of studies that show links between eugenics and progressive social thought and also throws light on the political implications of this issue. The three Scandinavian countries—Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—share experiences that were important for the development of eugenic ideas and policies. This article mentions that the development of Mendelism and a growing understanding of the complexity of heredity marks different views about the potential of racial hygiene and for tensions within the community of eugenicists. Finally, it presents a discussion on Scandinavian eugenics that focuses on the way sterilization was used in the framework of the Social Democratic welfare states from the 1930s onward.

Keywords: Scandinavian; eugenics; social thought; Social Democratic welfare states; Mendelism

Article.  6634 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History

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