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Gender Representations and the Politics of Biotechnology in Sweden: Eplaining liberal Regulations in a Social Democratic State
Södertörn University, Avdelning 3, Gender studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8084-2045
2003 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

What makes Sweden especially relevant for this case study? At first, Sweden appears to have quite a puzzling policy pattern indeed. As a social democratic regime with an extensive statist governance system, Sweden stands out in its biomedical policy through remarkably liberal, lenient regulations which, in European comparison, are closest to those of Great Britain. Sweden's legislation allows for the use of so-called "spare" human embryos, resulting from IVF procedures, for research purpose, pre-implantation diagnosis, and egg donation. This country also has a considerable amount of embryonic stem cell lines at its disposal and has recently initiated an entire research program involving their use. Furthermore, legislative processes have been initiated, which could legalize the creation of – instead of the use of "spare" – human embryos for research purposes and so-called therapeutic cloning.  This policy-making process provoked only a moderate deal of controversy. Parliamentary resolutions concerning the issue were backed by a broad consensus among all parties in Parliament. To say the least, the politicization of biomedical issues has been quite limited. This corresponds well to the virtual lack of noticeable  mobilization of extra-parliamentary  groups.

Throughout the course of this essay I will de-riddle the puzzling features of Sweden's biopolitics through presenting the juncture between institutionalist and discursive approaches. In short, I argue that the Swedish model is based on a productivist paradigm, the institutional and discursive parameters of which have not been decisively extended through its "new politics." In this way, elitist policy-making structures within environmental and technology policies have remained intact. Ironically, this relative openness, which enabled the rapid integration of new issues and political actors, was what led to the blockage of extensive participatory rights (as a counter-concept to the elitist policy style) and hindered the development of oppositional public spaces and forms of knowledge. Sweden's heritage of utilitarian ethics and pragmatic legal tradition and its assertions make it even more difficult for leftist or feminist to formulate a critical stance. Therefore, the only anti-embryo research position taken in the political arena was by the Christian Democratic Party.

I will start providing an overview of policy regulations, then analyze the peculiar relation between the social democratic state, and the so-called new politics. I will then examine the institutions and actors in the biomedical policy field, and finally reconstruct the lines of argumentation within policy discourse.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003.
National Category
Gender Studies Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39120OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-39120DiVA, id: diva2:1358022
Conference
ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) General Conference, Marburg, September 19–21, 2003.
Available from: 2019-10-06 Created: 2019-10-06 Last updated: 2019-10-07Bibliographically approved

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Kulawik, Teresa

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
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  • nn-NB
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