About Petra

I was born in 1965 in the town of Kiruna in northern Sweden, and although I now live in Stockholm, I still spend a lot of time in Tornedalia, where my family is from.

Since the mid-1980s, I have been interested in feminist issues. At the same time as I started to study social anthropology and Chinese language at Stockholm University, I was working as an instructor in self-defence for women. Inspired by Swedish and foreign instructors, I developed a three-step model of mental, verbal and physical self-defence. This is further explained in my book Slå tillbaka! En handbook I självförsvar för kvinnor (Strike Back! A Guide to Self-Defence for Women).

Following the murder of my mother at the end of the 1980s, I took a break from my studies, started my own company and worked full-time as a self-defence instructor. I also trained new instructors and later ran a Kung Fu club. At this time I wrote the book about my mother; Att komma till ro med det allra värsta (Coming to Terms with the Very Worst).

After having separated from radical feminism, I left self-defence and returned to my studies. I was wondering as to why questions about women and sexuality are always so charged in Swedish discourse. This resulted in a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology and the book Porr, horor och feminister (Porn, Whores and Feminists). Other questions that interested me around the turn of the millennium were those of domestic violence in same-sex relationships and trans issues.

My research has continued, and in 2008 I began a PhD in Social Anthropology at Lund University. The disputation is planned to take place at the beginning of 2016 and the thesis investigates the meanings and functions of the Swedish Sex Purchase Ban. Since 2014 I have been the project leader of the Swedish study in DemandAT. My interest in feminism has also evolved, leading me to edit the anthology F-ordet. Mot en ny feminism (The F-word: Towards a New Feminism).

I am also writing a fictional trilogy. I have completed the first part of Berättelsen om Esmara (Esmara’s Tale), which was published by Piratförlaget in 2010.

My work on the manuscript of my book about autonomy and anarchy is on hiatus for a while, but I hope to return to that project after my disputation.

I have lived abroad in periods, mostly in Australia, and I am always happy to return to the Southern Hemisphere. During the 1980s I frequently visited China.

Apart from researching and writing, I hold lectures for organisations, universities and work places, and I often engage in public debates. I also frequently meet with journalists, researchers, civil servants, politicians and representatives for civil society in other countries who wish to access my research about Swedish politics and sex work.