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Mia Liinason. Foto.

Mia Liinason

Research Responsible | Professor

Mia Liinason. Foto.

Varieties of exceptionalism: A conversation


  • Mia Liinason
  • Selin Cagatay
  • Olga Sasunkevich


  • Mia Liinason
  • Elisabeth L Engebretsen

Summary, in English

This chapter explores discourses of exceptionalism, their embeddedness in particular contextual landscapes, exclusions, and transnational circulations across the global North, East and South. Based on a conversation between the authors around the ways in which national exceptionalism is articulated in three seemingly different landscapes – Scandinavian countries, Russia, and Turkey – the chapter highlights the relational and contextual character of particular discourses of exceptionalism, be they celebratory, pessimistic or characterised by a sense of urgency. Drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship on genders, sexualities, and (trans-) nationalisms, we explore how these discourses are entwined with notions of modernity, national sovereignty, and superiority, contingent on the exclusion of racialized, classed, and sexualized others. While exceptionalism is no coherent or unified discourse but should rather be seen as ambiguous, hybrid, and varied, we argue that as a concept it provides a fruitful analytical entrance to transnational feminist theorizing, enabling an understanding of the systemic as well as historically specific dynamics involved in activist practices and gender and sexual politics. Our findings call attention to the role of exceptionalism in the global co-construction of ‘leaders’ and ‘victims’ in discourses of gender equality and women’s and LGBTI+ rights.


  • Department of Gender Studies
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration

Publishing year





Transforming identities in Europe

Document type

Book chapter




  • Gender Studies