What Makes a Family? Representing Close Relations in Swedish Twenty-First Century Culture

Cultural representations are central to producing understandings of lived experience and identities. This also applies to understandings of family and kinship, which also vary across cultures. Yet, to date, there is no comprehensive study on representations of family in contemporary Swedish culture.

This project investigates how “family” is envisaged in cultural texts in twenty-first century Sweden. The project examines representations of family relations and kinship formations in a diverse selection of literature (fiction and nonfiction), film, and newspaper articles. But it also investigates the meanings of such representations for writers, publishers, reviewers and readers. It explores family and kinship as culturally sited, politically and ideologically shaped phenomena.

To accomplish solid and relevant results, the project uses mixed methods, combining textual analysis, discourse analysis and interviews. An integral aim is to contribute to theorization of family and kinship from a Swedish and Nordic perspective, which may balance the current hegemony of Anglophone theory in Nordic family studies.

In terms of focus, scope, selection and methods, the project is a unique contribution to Swedish family studies (currently dominated by social science research) and literary/cultural studies. 

Researchers: Helena Wahlström Henriksson and Jenny Björklund

Last modified: 2022-10-14