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maria wemrell

Maria Wemrell


maria wemrell

Stories of backlash in interviews with survivors of intimate partner violence in Sweden


  • Maria Wemrell

Summary, in English

While Sweden is positioned as one of the most gender equal countries in the world, survey-reported rates of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) are here among the highest in the EU. This apparently contradictory co-existence of high levels of gender equality and of IPVAW rates in Sweden and other Nordic countries, which has been termed the Nordic Paradox, has hitherto not been adequately resolved. One hypothetical explanation lies in dynamics of backlash against relative gender equality. The concept of backlash here denotes resistance from individuals in a position of relative privilege to changes in the status quo resulting in their lost or threatened power. In this study, based on thematic narrative analysis of interviews with 23 women exposed to IPVAW in Sweden, dynamics of backlash were indeed noted. Violence was thus described as being triggered by the woman’s existing or claimed resources, agency, breaks with traditional gender norms or resistance to violence, as well as by the man’s feeing of subordination. Such references were made in narratives which aligned quite well with the concept and theme of backlash overall, and in others that described more complex interpersonal power dynamics. This presentation discusses these stories of backlash, and briefly locates them in relation to other signs of backlash against gender equality in contemporary Sweden.


  • Department of Gender Studies
  • Social Epidemiology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference - other


  • Social Anthropology

Conference name

Annual Conference of the Swedish Anthropological Association (SANT)

Conference date

2021-04-22 - 2021-04-23



Research group

  • Social Epidemiology