Infecting the Welfare State – The Swedish Play Kurage and the "AIDS Crisis"
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonActa Universitatis Carolinae Philologica. 2021, 1 (1), 37-51. 10.14712/24646830.2021.11
The article focuses on the Swedish documentary theatre play Kurage (2020) in which three protagonists look back on how Sweden handled the “AIDS crisis” in the 1980s. In doing so, the play challenges the narrative of exceptional social conditions in Sweden and delivers a queer perspective on welfare state politics. Specifically, in the aesthetic conception of the play, the complex relation between welfare state and illness comes to the fore. I argue that Kurage not only builds on persistent metaphors of illness in literature but also expands epidemic narratives and thus exposes mechanisms of exclusion and marginalization in the welfare state. Finally, the article investigates in what ways pathology, medical institutions, or in a more general way: the understanding of medicine as a “neutral” science play a part in eliminating bodies, writing them out of the body politic and thus allowing for suffering and disappearing.