De/gendering violence and racialising blame in Swedish child welfare: what has childhood got to do with it?

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  • 1 Independent scholar, Sweden
  • | 2 Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Sweden
  • | 3 Åbo Akademi University, Finland
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This article is a critical interrogation of how gender and power figure in Swedish child welfare policy and the discourses on violence in intimate relationships vis-à-vis children exposed to violence. Drawing on feminist violence research, critical childhood studies, and intersectional perspectives, we identify a differentiation with racialised undertones in the understanding of violence as a social problem when related to children’s exposure. While predominately gender-neutral discourses of social heredity and epidemiology run through the material for the seemingly ‘universal’ child, forms of violence ascribed to the presumed cultural Others link to gender, structural power and sexuality. The article concludes that gendered articulations of violence are restricted yet pivotal if children’s exposure is to be linked to issues of inequality and power. However, when gendering interlinks with racialisation, problematic differentiations of violence, childhoods and children are produced.

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  • 1 Independent scholar, Sweden
  • | 2 Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Sweden
  • | 3 Åbo Akademi University, Finland

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