Differentiating the Nordic Baseline : Differences in state responses to violence against women in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: In international humanitarian discourse, gender-based violence against women have long been recognised as a human rights violation and described as the most extreme expression of unequal power relations between men and women (UN 1993). Using a qualitative content analysis to examine the GREVIO reports of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, the aim of this thesis is to outline the differences between and within these states regarding their response to violence against women. Drawing on insights from feminist political theory, and especially Nordic feminist theorists, these differences are made visible using the three concepts: hegemonic discourse, contradictory effects, and boundaries (Kantola and Dahl 2005). The theoretical background is complemented by theoretical contributions from feminist understandings of violence against women. In analysing the main differences between the states, many of these differences can be derived from the fact that the three states frame the violence differently, with Sweden adopting a gender-based frame while Denmark and Finland adopt gender-neutral frames of the violence. In analysing differences within states, there are two distinct forms of differences: differences due to a gap between principle and practice, and differences between various parts of the country. The findings of this thesis may provide a base for future in-depth studies of the Nordic, women-friendly, welfare states.

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