Åkesson at Almedalen: Intersectional Tensions and Normalization of Populist Radical Right Discourse in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study analyses the populist radical right discourse of the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD), examining how Jimmie Åkesson, the SD chairperson, conceptualized gendered social positions in the folkhem ([Swedish] people’s home) in his annual speeches in Almedalen, since the SD entered the Swedish Parliament in 2010 to date. Attention is being paid to whose voices are allowed to come forth and in which manner this is done, and to how inequalities intersecting gender and ethnicity are explained and reproduced, as means to normalize populist radical right discourse in Sweden. Theoretically, the study rests on the conceptualization of the populist radical right as a thin-centred ideology, which is contingently adapted to national politics, to which it ads “intersectionality from above” as a specific analytical perspective. The discourse-historical approach (DHA) provides the methodological tools for the analysis and facilitates its contextual positioning. The article contributes analytically to the field, shedding light on how, in the context of populist radical right discourse, welfare chauvinist appeals are employed formally to acknowledge the importance of gender equality in Sweden, and are used as a device to contour two antithetic entities: the supposedly gender-equal Swedish ethnic majority as the opposite of the allegedly deeply patriarchal migrant Other. The article also contributes empirically to the study of the populist radical right in Sweden. It provides a more nuanced picture of the party’s ideological transformations in what is envisaged to be their ideological normalization—from fringe nationalism (antidemocratic national socialism) and outright racism to welfare chauvinism and cultural racism (Islamophobic exclusionary nationalism) in conservative clothing.


External organisations
  • University of Helsinki
  • Free University of Brussels (ULB)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations


  • Almedalen, discourse-historical approach, Intersectionality, populist radical right, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
JournalNORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 3
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

Related activities

Norocel, C. (Invited speaker)
2019 Nov 27

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