Change search
ExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link


Project type/Form of grant
Project grant
Title [sv]
Genusnormer, det relationella självet och personlig autonomi
Title [en]
Gender norms, the relational self, and personal autonomy
Abstract [sv]
The purpose of this project is to elucidate the situated and relational self in gender theory by discussing what personal autonomy and autonomous action could mean in the context of such a self. The relational self is constituted by its social relations, hence it is not independent while autonomy often is understood as precisely independence. The aims are to develop detailed conceptions of the self as situated and relational, and to formulate empirical conditions for autonomy, which are compatible with these conceptions. The project, which is a philosophical project, will make use of philosophical and non-empirical methods, for example conceptual analysis. Conceptions of the relational self will be reconstructed along authorial intentions but also transformed in order to fit into the discussion of autonomy. Theories of autonomy will be tested against common intuitions, for example through discussion of well-known examples like the content slave or the self-sacrificing woman. Can one autonomously choose to live enslaved for the rest of one?s life? Is it possible to be self-sacrificing to a high extent and autonomous? The project discusses several key-concepts of gender theory: the self, social change, autonomy, oppressing norms. Since autonomy is an important notion in many areas, e.g. in politics, in medical treatment and bioethical questions, in law and the judicial system, or in eldercare, this project will hopefully have consequences also for these areas.
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Carlson, Å. (2016). Sex, Biological Functions and Social Norms: A Simple Constructivist Theory of Sex. NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 24(1), 18-29
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sex, Biological Functions and Social Norms: A Simple Constructivist Theory of Sex
2016 (English)In: NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, ISSN 0803-8740, E-ISSN 1502-394X, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 18-29Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Feminist theory needs a constructivist account of biological sex for at least two reasons. The first is that as long as female and male are the only two sexes that are taken for granted, being cisgender, heterosexual, and preferably a parent will be the norm, and being intersexed, transgender, bi- or homosexual, infertile or voluntarily childless will be deemed failure. The second is the fact that, usually, sex and gender come together in the way that is expected, i.e. the fact that most females are women and most males are men needs to be explained. This paper provides a constructivist theory of sex, which is that the sex categories depend on norms of reproduction. I argue that, because the sex categories are defined according to the two functions or causal roles in reproduction, and biological functionis a teleological concept involving purposes, goals, and values, female and male are normative categories. As there are no norms or values in nature, normative categories are social constructions; hence, female and male are not natural but social categories. Once we understand that biological normativity is social, biological norms of heterosexuality, fertility, and so on are no longer incontestable. In addition, as many gender norms also concern reproduction - socially mediated reproduction - this simple theory of sex explains the common confluence of sex and gender.

biological function, sex, gender, social construction
National Category
Other Humanities
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20617 (URN)10.1080/08038740.2015.1136681 (DOI)000372106300003 ()2-s2.0-84961241510 (Scopus ID)
Swedish Research Council, 2011-05398
Available from: 2015-11-19 Created: 2015-11-19 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Carlson, Å. (2013). Relational autonomy, gender norms, and feminist intuitions. In: : . Paper presented at Conference on Applied Philosophy, Copenhagen August 30-31 2013.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Relational autonomy, gender norms, and feminist intuitions
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
National Category
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-15109 (URN)
Conference on Applied Philosophy, Copenhagen August 30-31 2013
Swedish Research Council, 2011-05398
Available from: 2013-09-03 Created: 2013-09-03 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorCarlson, Åsa
Coordinating organisation
University of Gävle
2012-01-01 - 2013-12-31
National Category
Gender Studies
DiVA, id: project:292Project, id: 2011-05398_VR

Search in DiVA

Gender Studies

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar