Safe Sex, Unsafe Identities : Intersections of ’Race’, Gender and Sexuality in Swedish HIV/AIDS Policy

Abstract: This dissertation examines the different depictions of ‘immigrants’ and the ways in which migration, ethnicity and racism have been handled by Swedish HIV/AIDS policy since the early 1980s. The dissertation consists of five separate articles and an introductory chapter that outlines the discourse-theoretical approach used in the subsequent articles. The introduction also provides a contextual framework by summarizing recent research on, and sketching a background to, HIV/AIDS policy development in Sweden.The dissertation argues that, although the policy discourse early on established that inducing safer sex practices among the Swedish population was the only viable solution to the pandemic, the discourse is nonetheless permeated by notions of unsafe identities. The dissertation also stresses the importance of scrutinizing HIV/AIDS policy in light of broader political developments, and argues that an increasing focus on migrants in HIV/AIDS policy should not be seen as a simple reflection of the global epidemiological development, but should rather be understood in relation to the general political and economic phenomenon of welfare state retrenchment. Applying postcolonial feminist theories, the dissertation reveals how the policy discourse is permeated by conceptions of migrant cultures as not susceptible to change but steeped in tradition and primordiality, alongside racialized fantasies about Africa as the ‘dark continent’ and the source of disease. It also discusses how both masculinity and femininity, as well as heterosexuality and homosexuality, feature in the policy discourse as demarcations between Western and non-Western subjects – between whites and blacks and between Swedes and non-Swedes – and identifies the challenges that such knowledge implies for feminist HIV/AIDS research and policy.