Linn Sandberg


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Works at Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 E7
Postal address 106 91 Stockholm 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a research fellow in Gender Studies. I received a PhD in Gender Studies from Linköping University, Sweden ("Getting intimate: a feminist analysis of old age, masculinity & sexuality" 2011). I am also affiliated with the Centre for Aging and Society, Trent University, Canada (with a grant from Forte).

My main research focus is on gender and sexuality in intersection with old age and ageing. My doctoral research focused on masculinity, sexuality and old age through the narratives of 22 heterosexual men born between 1922 and 1942. The study was based on qualitative interviews and the explorative method ”body diaries”. The dissertation makes dialogues between studies of men and masculinities, feminist theory, sexualities- and queer studies and studies of ageing and old age, and discusses topics such as erectile changes, sexual desire, touch and intimacy. The doctoral study has led to a number of publications in journals such as "Sexualities", "International Journal of Ageing and Later life" and "Tidskrift för genusvetenskap". I am contributing to "Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology" (2015), with a chapter on sexuality in later life.

I have also been a post-doctoral fellow in social work at Linköping University (2011-2014), working in the project "Children and young people living in rural areas witnessing violence at home: A study of the social network’s responses" and was in this project part of the Responses to Interpersonal Violence (RIV) network, including the international network ( In this project I have focused particularly on intergenerational relationships and how these are negotiated in relation to domestic violence. This project has resulted in 4 scientific publications including a chapter in the forthcoming research anthology "A Response-based approach to the study of inter-personal violence" (Eds. Hydén, Gadd & Wade) published with Palgrave.


In my current research project funded by Forte the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, I study intersections of Alzheimer’s disease, gender, sexuality and intimacy through interviews with couples where one partner is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. From a theoretical perspective the study explores how gendered subjectivities emerge in relation to dementia; how is gender subverted or sustained in intimate relationships with dementia? The study also aims to contribute empirically to dementia research where there is a lack of studies on gender and sexuality, in particular where also the voices of persons with Alzheimers disease are heard.

I also collaborate with docent Lucas Gottzén, Linköping University, in a project on children and adolescents exposed to violence at home and their experiences of the responses of their grandparents (2014-2015). This project, which is an offspring from Gottzén’s and my previous research within RIV, is funded by Stiftelsen Allmänna barnhuset and is based on qualitative interviews.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • Linn Sandberg. Feminism and Psychology

    ntimate partner violence (IPV) is often known to a wider social network. Still little research exists on the experiences of social networks, how they respond and how women and children experiencing IPV perceive these responses. This article draws on 16 qualitative interviews with women victims of IPV, IPV-exposed children and their relatives in three kin network. The overall aim of this article is to study responses to IPV from a multivocal perspective where the possibly concurring and conflicting perspectives of both the victims and the networks are heard. More specifically, the article explores what responses are perceived as possible/impossible to end violence and create safety for women and children

    The article shows how masculinity, in intersection with kin position and age, figures both as an obstacle and a possibility to end IPV. Moreover, the article shows that responses are shaped from intersections of age, kin and gender in victims, more specifically understandings of maturity and adulthood of female victims and how this linked to responsible motherhood. The study provided insights into responses to IPV as co-constructed in a wider social network and how a focus on multivocality may be useful for understanding the multidimensional character of responses to IPV.

  • 2016. Nina Åkerlund, Linn J. Sandberg. Child Abuse Review

    While there is a growing research interest in the experiences of children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV), the role of children's social networks, other than the role of mothers, has been little discussed. The aim of this article is to study older children's stories of how they, and the adults in their social networks, respond to IPV. More specifically, we are interested in how older children describe both their own responses when exposed to IPV and responses from adults. This article focuses on the narratives of older children since they are often in a liminal position between adulthood and childhood, which may be consequential for their and others’ responses to violence. The article shows that responses are interactional and that children's responses affect how adults respond. Our analysis suggests that adults are positioning children as either adult-like and competent or vulnerable, and this impacts significantly on the support that they receive. In our data, there are, however, also examples of middle ways where children are positioned as vulnerable yet capable. This seems linked to children's abilities to communicate their own needs. Although the study sample is limited, our results point to the significance of gender for how children respond.

  • 2016. Linn Sandberg. Men and Masculinities 19 (2), 192-208

    Recent years have seen increasing discussions of sexuality in later life. Today, continued sexual activity is gradually understood as a positive and healthy aspect of aging, in contrast to how aging historically was primarily associated with asexuality. Old men’s sexual function, in particular, has been a topic of notable interest to scholars and popular media alike, an interest spurred not least by the market introduction of Viagra and other sexuo-pharmaceuticals. If aging men’s sexual function has been the object of extensive discussion, considerably less attention has been given to the question of sexual desire in later life, neither women’s nor men’s. Old men’s sexual desire is a potentially conflictual field as men are often expected to be sexually willing but the old man who shows continued sexual interest also run the risk of being labeled a “dirty old man.” This article focuses on old men, masculinity, and sexual desire through the interview narratives of Swedish med between sixty-seven and eighty-seven years old. In dialogue with Sara Ahmed’s work on queer phenomenology, the article discusses asserted sexual desire as a form of orientation that shapes old men’s heterosexual subjectivities. The interviewees expressed that sexual desire continued to be an important aspect of later life, but sexual desire was also understood to vanish as one aged. For those who expressed a lack of sexual desire, this was sometimes experienced as a “gender trouble” but was also made sense of in relation to feeling old. All on all, intimacy was a central way of making sense of later life sexuality. The article concludes that narratives on intimacy could be understood as ways of retaining a heterosexual orientation as one ages. Through narratives of intimacy men could express a continued interest in sexuality, but in positive and unthreatening ways that avoided the stigmatization of being a dirty old man.

  • 2015. Linn Sandberg. Lambda Nordica (4), 19-44

    Trots ett ökat teoretiserande av queer tid och queera temporaliteter är queerforskningens intresse för åldrande och äldre påfallande ljumt. Att tänka samman queerteori och åldrandeforskning är dock ett angeläget och löftesrikt projekt som inte enbart handlar om att studera livsvillkoren för äldre LHBTQ-personer utan även om att utforska hur normativitet kan förstås i relation till äldre och det goda livet (i ålderdomen) i en vidare bemärkelse. Åldrandet och äldre har ofta, liksom queera liv, kommit att förknippas med skam, äckel och det bakåtsträvande: själva framtidens motsats. På senare tid har de negativa diskurserna om åldrande dock kommit att samsas med mer positiva, enligt vilka livet på ”äldre dar” innebär en möjlighet till fortsatt aktivitet och delaktighet och betraktas som en tid för självförverkligande efter pensioneringen. Kritiska forskare har problematiserat det goda/ /positiva/framgångsrika åldrandet som det formulerats inom såväl forskning som populärkultur och massmedia, och menar att nya, positiva diskurser riskerar att osynliggöra intersektionella ojämlikheter mellan äldre. Denna artikel utvecklar existerande kritisk forskning om positivt åldrande genom att diskutera heteronormativitet och hur positivt åldrande konstrueras som just positivt genom att associeras till tvåsamma heterosexuella relationer och barnbarn. Artikeln diskuterar uttryck för positivt åldrande inom massmedia och forskning och kopplar samman dessa med Sara Ahmeds teoretiserande av heterosexualitet, familj och lycka. Frammanandet av det positiva åldrandet och den sammanhängande heteronormativa ”lyckliga” intimiteten sker dock genom en kontrastering mot ett ”misslyckat” och ”olyckligt” åldrande, som knyts till åldrande med funktionsnedsättningar i allmänhet och demenssjukdom i synnerhet. Genom medicinska diskurser om ”sexuellt opassande beteenden” hos demenssjuka äldre positioneras dessa som problematiska, abjekta, och queera (icke)subjekt, vilkas intima relationer framställs som olyckliga relationer. Avslutningsvis diskuterar artikeln hur heteronormativa relationer och intimitet fyller en viktig funktion i konstruktionen av det positiva åldrande, som en länk till eller association med framtid och en disassociation med negativitet, förlust och död i åldrandet.

  • 2016. Linn Sandberg. Introducing the New Sexuality Studies, 304-312
  • 2015. Linn Sandberg. Routledge handbook of cultural gerontology, 218-225
Show all publications by Linn Sandberg at Stockholm University


Last updated: September 7, 2017

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