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Jens Rydström

Jens Rydström

Professor emeritus

Jens Rydström

Scandinavian Disjunctures: Disability, citizenship and sexuality in Denmark and Sweden, from 1925 to the present day


  • Jens Rydström

Summary, in English

The project is inspired by ongoing discussions about citizenship and exclusion. We contend that research on sexuality and disability can contribute in important ways to debates about autonomy and inclusion in society. In order to analyse the complex problems around these questions we study discursive and political differences between Denmark and Sweden from 1925 to the present. In Denmark, it is possible for disabled people to get support to buy sexual services – in Sweden this would be a crime. How did these differences originate and what do they mean concretely for people with disabilities and for those who work with these questions? One central tool of analysis is gender theory. Is it possible to interpret the Danish attitude to sexuality – sex as a human right – as a ‘male’ project? How are the differences linked to the different developments of feminism in Denmark and Sweden? This is one of the central questions we will discuss from a historical perspective. Another central problem is how men and women with disabilities think and discuss around their need or their right to sexual fulfilment, and finally how women and men in positions of power define those questions from a gender perspective. Another approach that we want to develop is Crip Theory as a means of understanding disability in a sexed and sexualised way, and to see how ableism has worked in various ways to confer persons with disabilities to distinct areas in society, where autonomy, sexuality, and full citizenship has been out of reach. From this gender perspective, we will compare how disability and sexuality has been dealt with in Denmark and Sweden from 1925 until today. The sources are governmental reports, laws, and archival material and membership press from disability organisations and sex reform movements, as well as interviews with a number of key persons. Before the 1960s there was not much talk about sex in connection to disability, but more about autonomy and work. The sexual revolution in the 1960s opened the debate and in the 1970s seminars and workshops were organised around this theme both in Denmark and Sweden. But state policies regarding prostitution and the regulation of sexuality have been remarkably different in the two countries. The project will compare state policies and the attitudes from the disability organisations and the sex reform movements in Denmark and Sweden.


  • Genusvetenskapliga institutionen








  • Gender Studies

Conference name

8th European Social Science History Conference, 2010

Conference date

2010-04-13 - 2010-04-16

Conference place

Ghent, Belgium