Fia Sundevall October 2018. Photographer: Johan Knobe.

Fia Sundevall


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Economic History and International Relations
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 A, plan 9
Room A 996
Postal address Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Associate professor (docent) in Economic History at the Department of Economic History and International Relations.


  • Master's Thesis/Essay Course in Economic History / International Relations / Global Political Economy
  • Qualitative Methods in Economic History (EHII)
  • Gendering Global Political Economy: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives (MA level in EH/IR/GPE)
  • Gender and Labour in Sweden 1800–2000 (EH, summer course)


My main research interests lie in the intersection of labour history, gender/sexuality history, and military history. Other and related research interests include labour coercion, the political economy of conscription, fundraising, poor relief, and disenfranchisement.

On-going research projects:

I am is also part of the EU funded research network "Worlds of Related Coercions in Work", and the European Labour History Network's working group "Military labour".

Book coming soon: Alma Persson & Fia Sundevall, Kamouflage: HBTQ i Försvarsmakten 1969–2019  [Camouflage: LGBT in the Swedish Armed Forces 1969–2019], Stockholm: Makadam publishing, 2020.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Fia Sundevall. Arbetarhistoria , 40-48
  • 2019. Alma Persson, Fia Sundevall. Women's History Review

    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.

  • 2019. Klara Arnberg, Fia Sundevall, David Tjeder.

    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.

    Om första upplagan:

    "Här fylls en lucka i vår politiska historia [...] en veritabel historisk odyssé. Var och en av källtexterna är kommenterade och satta i sitt sammanhang av vårt lands främsta forskare." (Riksdag & Departement)

    "gediget urval som inte bara fångar upp de allra mest klassiska texterna, utan också hittar mindre lästa guldkorn" (Helsingborgs Dagblad)

    "förmedlar så mycket mer av det förgångnas brokiga här och nu än vad mer traditionella historieskrivningar brukar lyckas med" (Respons).

  • 2018. 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.

  • 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
Show all publications by Fia Sundevall at Stockholm University

Last updated: December 1, 2019

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