AbstractsPolitical Science

On the border of the welfare state

by Isabelle Grebäck

Institution: Swedish National Defense College
Year: 2016
Keywords: Sweden; national identity; the welfare state; nationalism; humanitarianism; immigration; discourse analysis; Social Sciences; Samhällsvetenskap; Master's programme in Politics and War; Master's programme in Politics and War; Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och säkerhet (Master's programme in Politics and War); Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och säkerhet (Master's programme in Politics and War)
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2091313
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6253


This thesis seeks to understand how the restrictive immigration policies – taken by the Swedish Government in 2015 as Europe was facing a huge stream of people seeking refuge – could be justified when research demonstrates that Sweden’s national identity is based on humanitarianism and asserts that Sweden has a great commitment to human rights. The nationalistic act seemed paradoxical – however, previous research displays a disputed understanding of the relationship between the humanitarian discourse and the nationalistic discourse. The thesis uses discourse theory to trace how the Swedish Government through its representation of the decision to tighten immigration constructs and reproduces the Swedish national identity. The empirical analysis displays a shift in the focus of Swedish immigration policy from an international (humanitarian) one to a national one. Even though it is not possible to fully assert an identity change the analysis indicates an identity crisis – the analysis demonstrates how humanitarian values acquires meaning within a nationalistic discourse. The thesis also demonstrates how the Swedish Government represents immigration as a contradiction to the Swedish welfare state. The decision to tighten immigration appears as a measure taken in order to rescue the national identity and its main feature – the welfare.