A Situation “Unworthy” of the Swedish Welfare State

by Emma Berglund

Institution: Stockholm University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Migration; EU; Sweden; Public Debate; Citizenship; Nationalism; Welfare; Roma; Control of Mobility; Social Sciences; Sociology; Samhällsvetenskap; Sociologi
Record ID: 1338177
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104057


There are several studies on third country immigration, and the negative attitudes towards immigrants from outside of Europe, as well as the attempts to exclude these immigrants. However, not much has been written about the possibility of there being a similar view of some migrants within the EU, and possible attempts to exclude some EU citizens from the free movement. This study analyzes the Swedish public debate on the EU migrants in Sweden.  It identifies and describes the dominating features in the debate and it tries to understand the underlying ideas or perspectives behind the debate. With methodological tools from Grounded Theory of coding and categorizing, 55 articles from four Swedish newspapers are studied. Guided by social constructivist framework and relevant social theories on citizenship, nationalism and the welfare state, the analysis identified some main themes in the debate: responsibility, exclusionary citizenship and welfare nationalism. There was a clear emphasis on responsibility, and a tendency to place that responsibility outside of Sweden, instead of with the migrants’ country of origin and with the EU. Also, the debate seemed to be influenced by an exclusionary view of citizenship and welfare nationalism, which contributed to an unwillingness to discuss an inclusion of the migrants into the Swedish society and instead focus most solutions on their country of origin. However, also a sympathetic view of the migrants and a concern for their circumstances could be identified in the debate.