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Fia SundevallAssociate Professor

About me

I am an associate professor (docent) in Economic History at the Dept. of Economic History and International Relations, Stockholm University, Sweden.


Master's Thesis/Essay Course in Economic History and International Relations, with/without specialization in Global Political Economy. (30 hp). 


My main research interests lie in the intersection of labour history, gender history, and military history. Other and related research interests include economic suffrage restrictions, labour coercion, the political economy of conscription, civil-military relations, LGBTQ in working life, fundraising, and the early Swedish welfare state.

On-going research projects:

Previous research projects have dealt with e.g. LGBT in the Swedish military, military funding, and gender divisions of military labour.


Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • På hemmafronten intet nytt

    2021. Klara Arnberg, Nikolas Glover, Fia Sundevall. Historisk Tidskrift (S) 141 (3), 476-509


    The article studies commercial actors and advertisements in the Swedish weekly press in order to trace how the transformed gender roles during the Second World War were handled and negotiated in the commercial sphere. Two key dimensions of consumer society constitute the objects of study: 1) the weekly press’ and advertising industry’s actions and promotion of the role of female consumers during the war; and 2) how commercial advertisements represented female consumers. The weeklies we study, Svensk damtidning, Hemmets Veckotidning and Vecko-revyn reached national readerships and were directed towards households and especially women. The paper concludes that although women were described as essential to national defenseby keeping up home front morale, the war was largely absent in the advertisements. Instead, the latter tended to remind consumers of peacetime affluence and family-based gender ideals. This meant that while many women’s everyday lives changed dramatically as a consequence of national wartime mobilization, their desires were commercially channeled just as they had been in peacetime: toward looking after their appearance, caring for the household and choosing the right consumer goods.

    Read more about På hemmafronten intet nytt
  • Conscripting women

    2019. Alma Persson, Fia Sundevall. Women's History Review 28 (7), 1039-1056


    This article explores how women, men, and gender equality in the military have been debated, made sense of, regulated, and dealt with in Swedish contemporary history. It takes its empirical point of departure in 1965, when the issue of military conscription for women was first raised in Sweden, and ends with the implementation of so called gender-neutral conscription in 2018. The study is based on a wide range of sources, collected through a combination of extensive archival work, ethnographic studies, and interviews. The analysis shows how men have been the standard against which women were measured throughout the period studied. Women service members were simultaneously perceived both as a problem and as a solution to a range of problems in the organisation. Women’s ‘different’ bodies were considered problematic, while staff shortages and demands for specific personnel qualities rendered the ‘woman soldier’ a solution, in particular in relation to international missions.

    Read more about Conscripting women
  • Könspolitiska nyckeltexter

    2019. Klara Arnberg, Fia Sundevall, David Tjeder.

    Book (ed)

    Könspolitiska nyckeltexter är en mångfacetterad introduktion till svensk genushistoria. Genom ett pärlband av originaltexter, från C.J.L. Almqvists roman Det går an 1839 till #metoouppropen 2017, ges en fördjupad förståelse av hur kön har diskuterats, politiserats och iscensatts under nästan 200 år. Varje nyckeltext är kommenterad och analyserad av en forskare.

    Arbete, sexuella rättigheter, familjeliv, diskriminering, våld, försörjning, värnplikt, rösträtt, preventivmedel, skönhet och barnomsorg är några exempel på de många frågor som behandlas i boken, nu i omarbetad och utvidgad upplaga.

    Read more about Könspolitiska nyckeltexter
  • Military education for non-military purposes

    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.

    Read more about Military education for non-military purposes
  • LGBT in the Military

    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.

    Read more about LGBT in the Military

Show all publications by Fia Sundevall at Stockholm University