Gender equality in the name of the state: state feminism or femonationalism in civic orientation for newly arrived migrants in Sweden?

Simon Bauer, Tommaso M. Milani, Kerstin von Brömssen, Andrea Spehar

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This article contributes to ongoing discussions in the social sciences about how to interpret the incorporation of gender equality into integration policies–is it a form of state feminism or femonationalism? Drawing upon intersectionality, we analyse how gender equality is presented, discussed and negotiated in relation to ethnicity and nationality in Sweden. Methodologically, we employ a bifocal lens that combines (1) a quantitative investigation of representations of civic orientation programmes in Swedish policy documents and mainstream media, and (2) a qualitative analysis of ethnographic data collected in six civic orientation courses–three in English and three in Arabic–in three large municipalities. Such a two-pronged approach, which connects policy and media discourses with interactions in civic orientation classes, offers a granular picture of the complex and often ambivalent intersections of ethnicity and gender in relation to migration in Sweden. Ultimately, the co-optation of feminist values brings with it the risk of warping feminism into a trait of national/ethnic distinctiveness. Crucially, femonationalism is not the prerogative of far-right parties but is already becoming institutionalised, informing both mainstream media and educational practices in a feminist state like Sweden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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