Why Following the Rules Will Not Stop Them:

An Exploration of Anti-gender Presence in Swedish Universities

  • Lena Martinsson
  • Diana Mulinari
Keywords: anti-gender, depoliticising academia, politics of knowledge, social justice


The last few decades have witnessed the emergence of several knowledge traditions within academic clusters inspired by and engaged in productive dialogue with transnational social movements such as feminist, queer, trans* and Crip studies, critical race theory, indigenous studies, and degrowth scholarship (Choudry & Kappor 2010; Bhattacharyya & Murji 2013; Carruthers 2018; Salisbury & Connelly 2021). Despite significant theoretical and methodological differences, these traditions share a recognition of the fundamental role played by social actors outside academia in the struggle for social justice in academic knowledge production. Recent decades have also witnessed the emergence of ethnonationalist and anti-gender social movements, networks, and political parties attacking these academic traditions and focusing on the university as a fundamental arena for generating and reproducing their ideologies of hate (Perry 2009). These attacks target academic fields and individual scholars sharing a commitment to social justice issues (Floyd 2009) and an understanding of knowledge production inside academia as contributing to visions of social justice beyond academia (Young 2000). Central to these threats against scholars working within social justice paradigms is the argument that their scholarly production is “political” and hence unscientific. In this article, we explore the politics of knowledge claims among key anti-gender and right-wing actors within and related to academic institutions in Sweden. Inspired by the concepts of neoliberal depoliticising and neoliberal governance, we analyse arguments and strategies from 2015 to 2021 designed to undermine gender studies and to create and establish arenas for right-wing ethnonationalist knowledge production within the academia.


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How to Cite
Martinsson, L., & Mulinari, D. (2022). Why Following the Rules Will Not Stop Them:: An Exploration of Anti-gender Presence in Swedish Universities . Lambda Nordica, 27(3-4), 23-50. https://doi.org/10.34041/ln.v27.832