Academic discourse, social policy and the construction of new families

Christine Roman

in Gender equality and welfare politics in Scandinavia

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424655
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302407 | DOI:
Academic discourse, social policy and the construction of new families

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The chapter provides a brief presentation of Nancy Fraser's theory of need struggles in welfare states. It also addresses the political discourse on family and gender relations in Sweden in the 1970s. The chapter discusses the discursive shift which took place and argues that the social sciences, and in particular sex-role theory, played an important role in this process. It then argues that a second discursive shift took place in the 1980s, when the concept of ‘sex roles’ was, to an increasing extent, replaced by conceptions emphasising power relations between the genders. Ambiguities in the development of Swedish gender-equality policy are described. The shifting understandings of gender may be partly explained by changes in family structure. It is noted that Swedish family and gender-equality policy was far from unequivocal during the period investigated. The chapter also reveals the ambiguities in Swedish gender-equality policy.

Keywords: Nancy Fraser; social policy; Sweden; gender-equality policy; Swedish family; welfare states; academic discourse

Chapter.  7297 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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