Fia SundevallAssociate Professor
Associate Professor (docent) in Economic History at the Department of Economic History and International Relations, Stockholm University, Sweden.
- Director of Studies for the department's master's level (Global Political Economy, Economic History, and International Relations).
- Course convener for the master thesis courses in Global Political Economy, Economic History, and International Relations.
My research focuses on the late-modern and contemporary social and economic history of Sweden and the Nordic countries. It is centered around three main areas:
(1) Coercion in War Labour, examining the use of various forms and degrees of force in wartime labour practices;
(2) Military Labour (incl. military service), analyzed through the perspectives of gender, sexuality, labour and social history; and
(3) Money and suffrage, exploring how economic factors have limited various group of people's voting rights.
Ongoing research projects:
- Military Conscription, Settler-Colonialism and Discrimination of the Sami People in Sweden
- Between free and unfree labour. Labour market relations and the welfare society in Sweden 1880-2022
- The Defense of Consumption: Advertising, gender and citizenship in Sweden during World War II
- The gender neutral conscription: infrastructure, implementation and historical context
Recently finished research projects include:
- Universal suffrage? Voting restrictions and disenfranchisement in Sweden after 1921
- Gender equality, Diversity and Societal Security
Below are the latest publications.
For more publications, see the Swedish research publication database, DIVA.
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
A Nordic model of gender and military work? Labour demand, gender equality and women’s integration in the armed forces of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden
2024. Anders Ahlbäck, Fia Sundevall, Johanna Hjertquist. Scandinavian Economic History Review 72 (1), 49-66Article
This article traces the political process towards full formal integration of women in the military professions in Scandinavia and Finland, investigating the shifting roles played by military labour demands and politics of gender equality. It provides the first comparative overview of these developments in the Nordic region. The analysis demonstrates the importance of historical continuity in women’s military participation. Due to military labour demands, women were throughout the post-war decades recruited into a range of auxiliary, voluntary and hybrid capacities in the Scandinavian armed forces. The reforms opening the military professions to women in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the 1970s were the outcome of a double crisis, as military needs for the regulation of these women’s organisational status coincided with new political demands for gender equality in the labour market. Corresponding reforms in Finland were delayed by the country’s lack of continuity in women’s military participation as well as its sufficient supply of male military personnel. A common Nordic model of gender and military work nonetheless emerged in the 1990s, marked by equal rights to military participation for women on a voluntary basis, combined with mandatory military conscription for men.
Försvarsmaktens personalförsörjning 1980–2020.: En kvantitativ studie över kvinnors antal och andel i militär utbildning respektive officersyrkena
2023. Fia Sundevall, Therese Christoffersson, Karla Jonsson. Militärhistorisk Tidskrift (1), 15-34Article
Women in Sweden gained formal access to both basic military training and professional military occupations in the 1980s. Yet, four decades later, the Swedish Armed Forces remain predominantly male-dominated. Achieving quantitative gender equality within the organization presents a significant challenge. This study compiles and contextualizes data on female participation in basic military training and in the professional officer category over the past four decades (1980–2020). Through this analysis, the study provides empirical insights into the persistent gender imbalance within the Swedish Armed Forces, prompting further research into the root causes of this disparity.
Unpacking Coercion in Gendered War Labour
2023. Julia Heinemann (et al.). Labor history 64 (3), 225-237Article
While in recent decades there have been growing bodies of literature on gender and war, on war and military labor, and on various forms and degrees of labor coercion, rarely have these areas – gender, coercion and war labor – been analyzed together as intersecting and interdependent themes. The special issue on Gender, War and Coerced Labor aims to fill this gap, and this introduction to the issue will not only present the five papers but also establish the three intersecting themes uniting these papers. Together the introduction and the papers contribute toward larger debates about the place of coercion, of degrees of exploitation, and of free/unfree continuums in a variety of gendered war work.
Contributivist Views on Democratic Inclusion: on Economic Contribution as a Condition for the Right to Vote
2022. Jonas Hultin Rosenberg, Fia Sundevall. Critical Review of International Social and Political PhilosophyArticle
Prior to the democratic breakthrough in most Western countries, the right to vote was premised on a person’s economic contribution. No country today reserves voting rights exclusively to contributors, but economic contribution matters once again. It matters for immigrants’ access to citizenship and its associated political rights, and it matters for emigrants’ attempts to keep the right to vote in their ‘home country’. Economic contribution has attracted very little attention in the literature on democratic inclusion. The few scholars who have discussed it have rejected it based on its expected implications, without going into detail about its different instantiations and normative underpinnings. This paper lays the foundation for a more thorough critique. Informed by historical practices, we distinguish between two main types of economic contributivist regulations: those that condition the right to vote on the size of the contribution, and those that condition it on compliance with legally required contributions. We suggest that contributivism can be based either on property rights or on reciprocity. We conclude the paper by contrasting contributivism with established principles of democratic inclusion (such as the all-affected principle), and by arguing that, unlike these other principles, contributivism is incompatible with the democratic ideal of self-rule.
Solving ‘the Uniform Issue’: Gender and Professional Identity in the Swedish Military
2022. Sanna Strand, Alma Persson, Fia Sundevall. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 12 (4), 3-20Article
This article contributes empirical knowledge about the shifting ways in which the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) has articulated and addressed ‘the uniform issue’, that is, matters concerning servicewomen’s access to adequate uniforms and other equipment, since the 1980s. Drawing on analytical tools employed within post-structural policy analysis, we demonstrate how ‘the uniform issue’ has gone from being articulated as a problem for servicewomen, and to be solved by servicewomen, to a problem for the SAF in its pursuit to become an attractive employer and a legitimate public authority. By shedding light on how ‘the uniform issue’ has been problematized in shifting ways since Swedish women first were allowed to serve in all military positions, this article also contributes important insights into broader scholarly debates about workplace discrimination, gender equality, and gendered occupational identities in military work.
Fattigvård och rösträtt: Motsättningar mellan sociala och politiska rättigheter i den tidiga välfärdsstatens Sverige
2022. Fia Sundevall. Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift 99 (4), 458-466Article
Den så kallade allmänna rösträtt som infördes i Sverige år 1921 inkluderade inte personer som var omhändertagna för långvarig försörjning av den skattefinansierade fattigvården – i praktiken ekonomiskt utsatta åldringar på ålderdomshemmen (då: fattigvårdsanstalter). Uteslutningen av denna grupp från rösträtten motiverades med hänvisning till deras beroendeförhållande till fattigvårdsmyndigheterna och inskränkta självbestämmanderätt – vilket i sin tur ansågs stå i direkt konflikt med idén om den självständige politiska medborgaren. I denna artikel föreslås dock att argumentationen byggde på ett regelverk som i själva verket var avskaffat när den nya rösträttsreformen trädde i kraft