Mediating reproduction: Medicine, pregnancy and fetuses in Swedish film and television, 1960s–1980s

Project leader: Elisabet Björklund

This subproject examines representations of reproduction in Swedish film and television during the time period from the 1960s to the 1980s. In the 1960s, major changes in the attitudes towards sexuality and reproduction took place in Sweden, which eventually lead to political reform in many areas. For example, abortion on demand was introduced in 1975 after big debates on the issue during the 1960s. At the same time, the media landscape changed significantly, not least with the expansion of the new medium of television. The aim of the project is to explore the intersection of these two developments by analyzing how ideas about medicine, pregnancy and fetuses have been constructed and communicated in audiovisual media and what role these representations have played in public debates and discussions. Through a number of case studies of theatrically distributed films, television programs of various formats, and educational films from the period, the project investigates questions related to the relationship between medicine and different media forms, the uses of images of fetuses in audiovisual media, women in film and television production, abortion narratives, and representations of disability.

Publications and presentations:

• “The abortion debate in Swedish television of the 1960s and 1970s”, paper presentation, European Network for Cinema and Media Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, Paris, June 29-July 1, 2017.