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In the last century, the treatment of victims of involuntary sterilisation and castration in Nordic countries has varied drastically from state-to-state, across time and victim groups. Considering why this is the case, Daniela Alaattinoğlu investigates how laws and practices of involuntary, surgical sterilisation and castration have been established, abolished and remedied in three Nordic states: Sweden, Norway and Finland. Employing a vast range of primary and secondary sources, Alaattinoğlu traces the national and international developments of the last 100 years. Developing the concept of grievance formation, the book explores why some states have claimed public responsibility while others have not, and why some victim groups have mobilised while others have remained silent. Through this pioneering analysis, Alaattinoğlu illuminates issues of human and constitutional rights, the evolution of the welfare state and state responsibility in both a national and global context.


‘Alaattinoğlu’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in the regulation of reproductive health. Sterilisation and castration have been used as means of eugenic population control and as restrictions to gender recognition. In both respects, it is important to understand the legal and social processes that have led to their abolition.’

Johanna Niemi - University of Helsinki

‘That we have had to wait for so long to have a book like this is a mystery. The Nordic countries, often taken to showcase gender equality milestones, are finally under scrutiny for their serious violations of reproductive rights with practices such as castration and forced sterilization of those considered deviant and unworthy. International law, too, so poorly equipped to respond to such expropriation of the reproductive capacity, under review. Thorough, textured, precise, and much needed.’

Ruth Rubio-Marín - University of Seville

‘This is an important contribution to the discussion of trans rights, law and legal theory. While focused on the Nordic countries, this book should be read by everyone that has an interest in human rights and remedies against violations of human rights.’

Mårten Schultz - Stockholm University

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