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When the other became the actor: A critical discourse analysis of women in Swedish development policy since the 60s
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

By adopting the Policy for Global Development (PGD) in 2003 the Swedish parliament established gender mainstreaming as a goal in development cooperation policy, thereby emphasizing women’s role as agents of empowerment in development. This has not always been the case. During most of the history of Swedish foreign aid women issues have been handled separately and development policy mainly based on a male perspective.

A lot of research has focused on trends in the global debate over how to better integrate women in development process, but much less academic attention has focused on how Swedish development policy has addressed the issue and how women have been referred to in development policy since the origin of Swedish foreign aid.

According to the theories of critical discourse analysis (CDA) our written and spoken language influence our view of the reality and how we understand society. Following that logic, how women are referred to in Swedish development policy influence how women are perceived by the actors of development cooperation.

Through a critical discourse analysis of official Swedish governmental documents concerning foreign aid, such as government bills and letters of appropriation, this study aims to detect discourses of Swedish development policy regarding women in developing countries. Furthermore it aims to understand how these discourses have related to the global debate about women’s role in development.

This study observes six discourses of women in developing countries in the material: Women as passive recipient, agent of empowerment, the savior, motherhood-women as mothers, the other woman, and the man as the norm.

The analysis shows Sweden’s development policies following the global discussions fairly coherently during much of the period, with 80s as the only possible exception. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Boserup, WID, WAD, GAD, gender mainstreaming, women, Swedish development policy, foreign aid, critical discourse analysis.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-27548OAI: diva2:636892
Educational program
Peace and Development Work, Master Programme, 60 credits
Available from: 2013-08-19 Created: 2013-07-14 Last updated: 2013-08-19Bibliographically approved

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Master's thesis(1136 kB)168 downloads
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Söderberg, Cathérine
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