This article demonstrates that the concepts of gender and nation illuminate the Swedish-Soviet submarine crisis in February 1981, when a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine was stranded for ten days in the Swedish archipelago. The crisis challenged both the Swedish armed forces’ status as protectors of the national territory and the government's foreign policy doctrine of neutrality. The article analyzes Swedish media from 1981 to identify the interpretive frames, with a particular emphasis on emotions and body imagery. Gendered notions of protection permeated the crisis narratives. Male bodies embodied national and military agency, whereas women's bodies symbolically merged with the Swedish nation's territory. The Soviet intruders were disparaged and Swedish military prestige redeemed through gendered and corporeal representations. The article improves our understanding of the way the Swedish ideal of the neutral soldier and the foreign policy doctrine of neutrality incorporated gender.

You do not currently have access to this content.