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The Path of the Law: The Establishment, Abolition and Remedy of Involuntary Sterilisation and Castration in Sweden, Norway and Finland

Dates:
  • Mon 13 May 2019 11.00 - 13.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-05-13 11:00 2019-05-13 13:00 Europe/Paris The Path of the Law: The Establishment, Abolition and Remedy of Involuntary Sterilisation and Castration in Sweden, Norway and Finland

Involuntary sterilisation and castration, narrowly problematised at the Nuremberg trials, were long topics incoherently regulated by international law. A supranational conceptual and remedial framework, mainly pertaining to human rights, is only recently emerging regarding the practices. Against this background, the thesis takes a closer look at Sweden, Norway and Finland, three Nordic countries that established similar sterilisation and castration laws and/or administrative regulations during the last century. The regulations have built on state control and allowed for interventions against the will of the targeted individuals. The targeted groups have been heterogeneous but can generally be divided into three subgroups: poor and marginalised women (1930s–1970s), sexual offenders and ‘deviants’ (1930s–1970s) and trans people (1970s–today). While the majority of the practices have been abolished, the three otherwise similar states have legally conceptualised said practices very differently, particularly in terms of state responsibility and remedies for victims. The thesis looks deeper into these differences and draws on legal mobilisation and social movement theory, particularly grievance formation with reference to rights. The thesis engages in doctrinal, legal-historical, socio-legal and comparative modes of analysis. Doing so, it investigates five legal and extra-legal factors to understand the differences between the countries of comparison: i) rights culture; ii) remedial and public liability culture; iii) victim mobilisation; iv) perception of victims and mass media attention; and v) public image and political party alliances. These factors have affected the unfolding of the establishment, abolition and remedy of involuntary sterilisation and castration in Sweden, Norway and Finland – practices sometimes referred to as the ‘skeleton in the closet’ of the Nordic welfare states.

Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Involuntary sterilisation and castration, narrowly problematised at the Nuremberg trials, were long topics incoherently regulated by international law. A supranational conceptual and remedial framework, mainly pertaining to human rights, is only recently emerging regarding the practices. Against this background, the thesis takes a closer look at Sweden, Norway and Finland, three Nordic countries that established similar sterilisation and castration laws and/or administrative regulations during the last century. The regulations have built on state control and allowed for interventions against the will of the targeted individuals. The targeted groups have been heterogeneous but can generally be divided into three subgroups: poor and marginalised women (1930s–1970s), sexual offenders and ‘deviants’ (1930s–1970s) and trans people (1970s–today). While the majority of the practices have been abolished, the three otherwise similar states have legally conceptualised said practices very differently, particularly in terms of state responsibility and remedies for victims. The thesis looks deeper into these differences and draws on legal mobilisation and social movement theory, particularly grievance formation with reference to rights. The thesis engages in doctrinal, legal-historical, socio-legal and comparative modes of analysis. Doing so, it investigates five legal and extra-legal factors to understand the differences between the countries of comparison: i) rights culture; ii) remedial and public liability culture; iii) victim mobilisation; iv) perception of victims and mass media attention; and v) public image and political party alliances. These factors have affected the unfolding of the establishment, abolition and remedy of involuntary sterilisation and castration in Sweden, Norway and Finland – practices sometimes referred to as the ‘skeleton in the closet’ of the Nordic welfare states.


Location:
Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Thesis defence

Supervisor:
Prof. Ruth Rubio Marin (EUI)

Examiner:
Laura Downs (EUI)
Dinah Shelton (The George Washington University)
Anne Hellum (University of Oslo)

Defendant:
Daniela Alaatinoglu

Contact:
Helene Debuire Franchini - Send a mail

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