Fia Sundevall October 2018. Photographer: Johan Knobe.

Fia Sundevall


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Works at Department of Economic History
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 A, plan 9
Room A 996
Postal address Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Docent (associate professor) in Economic History.


Economic history, international relations, sociology, history, and gender studies.


Sundevall's research lie in the intersection of labour history, gender/sexuality history, and military history. Other and related research interests include "free"/unfree labour, poor relief, fundraising, disenfranchisement, and LGBT history.
Sundevall is currently involved in research projects concerning:



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Fia Sundevall. Militärhistorisk Tidskrift, 60-89
  • 2017. Fia Sundevall. History of Education Review 46 (1), 58-71


    The purpose of this paper is to explore military service-linked economic and social governing initiatives in early twentieth-century Sweden, and thereby offer a broadened understanding of educational institutions as governing arenas.


    Using the term “governing” to describe and analyse various calculated techniques of the state – and/or affiliated governing actors – to influence and direct the behaviour of conscripts in order to deal with particular economic and/or social problems, the author ask what kind of economic and social problems policymakers and social commentators of education were looking to deal with, why military service was considered a suitable means and/or setting for doing so, and what governing techniques they proposed be used. The author furthermore take in consideration the intimate links between citizenship, gender, and military service and argue that the governing initiatives analysed enables us to understand these links in partly new and a more concrete way.


    The study shows that there were numerous ideas and requests amongst policymakers and social commentators of education on making use of the nation’s conscription scheme for non-military purposes as it provided the nation with a unique opportunity to reach and influence entire generations of men on the threshold of adulthood. Proposals included, e.g., the use of various forms of instruction in assorted subjects, facilitation of base libraries and an extension of the period of military service, in order to deal with economic and social problems such as, e.g., mass unemployment, alcohol abuse, elementary education deficiencies, and uneducated voters, as well as shortages of skilled personnel in particular branches of great importance for the nation’s economy.


    While there is a sizable and growing body of research on governing initiatives in non-military educational settings, proposed and implemented to solve various economic and social problems in society, scholars in Sweden and elsewhere have largely overlooked the use and role of military service in such undertakings. This paper seeks to redress the balance and thereby offers a broadened understanding of educational institutions as governing arenas.

  • 2017. Fia Sundevall, Christian de Vito. Arbetarhistoria (3)
  • 2016. Fia Sundevall, Alma Persson. Sexuality Research & Social Policy 13 (2), 119-129

    This article contributes to the growing field of research on military LGBT policy development by exploring the case of Sweden, a non-NATO-member nation regarded as one of the most progressive in terms of the inclusion of LGBT personnel. Drawing on extensive archival work, the article shows that the story of LGBT policy development in the Swedish Armed Forces from 1944 to 2014 is one of long periods of status quo and relative silence, interrupted by leaps of rapid change, occasionally followed by the re-appearance of discriminatory policy. The analysis brings out two periods of significant change, 1971–1979 and 2000–2009, here described as turns in LGBT policy. During the first turn, the military medical regulation protocol’s recommendation to exempt gay men from military service was the key issue. During these years, homosexuality was classified as mental illness, but in the military context it was largely framed in terms of security threats, both on a national level (due to the risk of blackmail) and for the individual homosexual (due to the homophobic military environment). In the second turn, the focus was increasingly shifted from the LGBT individual to the structures, targeting the military organization itself. Furthermore, the analysis shows that there was no ban against LGBT people serving in the Swedish Armed Forces, but that ways of understanding and regulating sexual orientation and gender identity have nonetheless shaped the military organization in fundamental ways, and continue to do so.

  • 2015. Fia Sundevall. 女性史学 : 年報 [Joseishigaku: nenpō: the Annals of Women’s History] 25
  • 2015. Klara Arnberg, Laskar Pia, Fia Sundevall.
Show all publications by Fia Sundevall at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 5, 2018

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