Skapande av femininitet : om kvinnor i missbrukarbehandling

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis is about women in drug abuse treatment and their descriptions of themselves as women - their process of becoming feminine. The aim of the thesis is describing and trying to understand the meaning of the treatment in the women's femininity processes and what significance drugs, alcohol, men, the own body, motherhood, and sexuality have and have had in the process. The emphasis is on the empirical material, which consists of several interviews with 29 female clients and treatment personnel at four different treatment programmes as well as observations, primarily of the physical environment. The programmes are a solution-focused open-care unit, a Minnesota Model treatment centre, an all-female institution, and a compulsory-treatment institution. At the all-female institution, all clients and the entire staff are women. At the compulsory-treatment institution, the clients are all women, while the staff consists of men as well as women. The other two programmes are directed towards male as well as female drug abusers.

In the women's descriptions of themselves as women, it appeared that they in various ways invested in femininity. They used their femininity and style to demonstrate femininity and to demonstrate to the surrounding world what kind of a woman they were. The drugs and alcohol were closely associated with how the women presented their femininity. However, both drugs and alcohol had several functions, which also have varied over time. The same means that initially had given strength were later used to endure. Relationships to men were central, and the women said that a relationship with a man proved that you were a real woman. The children, too, were of great importance to them as women. By being a mother you were unquestionably a woman. Some pointed out that their children were the drive behind their seeking treatment.

The women said that they were discontented with their lives and wanted a change. They "opened up" to the treatment and accepted their position as a client. As clients, they dissociated themselves from their use of drugs and alcohol and the femininity they had previously presented. Their previous life was not regarded as a "real life". The client position also meant that the women recognised and subordinated themselves to the image of femininity found in the treatment. The interviews revealed that the women, during their treatment, learned and acquired a femininity that at the same time was described as coming "from within" and being an expression of themselves. Through the treatment, they were disciplined to become a (real) "woman".


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Work


  • client., drug use, drug abuse, drugs, alcohol, drug treatment, addiction treatment, motherhood, sex, gender, femininity, women, Social problems and welfare, national insurance, Sociala problem, social välfärd, socialförsäkring
Translated title of the contributionCreating Femininity - on Women in Drug Abuse Treatment
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 May 24
  • Leili Laanemets, Socialhögskolan, Box 23, 221 00 Lund,
Print ISBNs91-89604-10-5
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-05-24 Time: 10:15 Place: Socialhögskolan, sal 28, Bredgatan 26 External reviewer(s) Name: Börjeson, Bengt Title: [unknown] Affiliation: [unknown] ---