Har världshistorien ett kön? Familj och släkt i världspolitikens mitt

English title: Does world history have a gender? Family and kinship in the midst of world politics

  • Maria Sjöberg


In recent decades, gender perspectives have been adopted and elaborated in almost all research areas of history, apart from world history. A review of articles published in the Journal of World History during 2001–13 demonstrates a general pattern of gender blindness in the journal, with a few important exceptions. Several explanations for why world history neglects gender history are examined in this article. First, it has been claimed that world history has a strong materialist tradition, while gender historians work mostly with cultural perspectives. However, the articles in the Journal of World History show that world history is not unfamiliar with cultural issues or methodologies. Secondly, gender historians emphasize the complexity of gender relations, which do not accord well with prevailing explanations within world history that stress macro theories and general patterns. Thirdly, gender historians concentrate their research on women in their own countries, and this is of minor interest to scholars of world history. Fourthly, the absence of women and gender relations in writing and teaching on world history reflects the fact that almost every society in world history has had a gender order that discriminates against women in favour of men. What is lacking is a consciousness of this order. This opinion is easy to agree with, but it does not suggest ways of improving the gender consciousness of world historians. Fifthly, one opinion stresses that most women in history have lived their lives in families, while families do not play an important role in world history. This opinion relies on a view of gender history as exclusively women’s history. In order to emphasize and clarify gender as a structuring principle at the general level of societies, this article ends with an overview of a similarity of significance in almost all early modern political regencies. Dynastic thinking was established all over the world, from principalities to empires, and was everywhere constructed in terms of imagined family and kinship relations with superior masculinity and subordinated femininity. How can research in world history overlook this world-wide structure? 

How to Cite
Sjöberg, M. (2015). Har världshistorien ett kön? Familj och släkt i världspolitikens mitt. FLEKS - Scandinavian Journal of Intercultural Theory and Practice, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.7577/fleks.1497