Sociologisk Forskning 55:2-3 (2018)
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TEMA: Det svenska politiska landskapet inför valet 2018
|Redaktörerna har ordet||s 119|||Fulltext| |||DiVA||
|Förändring och kontinuitet i det svenska politiska landskapet – Politisk-sociologiska perspektiv inför valet 2018 ||s 121 |||Fulltext|
Change and continuity in the political landscape. Politico-sociological perspectives on the general election in Sweden 2018
The political landscape in Sweden has undergone considerable changes in recent decades. The number of political parties in the Swedish parliament has increased from five to eight, and the socio-economic issues of the traditional political right–left scale has been challenged by socio-cultural issues relating to lifestyle and identity. Notably, the radical right has had significant electoral success in Sweden based on an ethno-nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The corporatist model has increasingly been challenged by new forms of political authority, participation and representation. Yet, new political actors such as social movements and civil society actors, think tanks and policy professionals, are becoming increasingly engaged in the political processes. Moreover, traditionally marginalised groups including the young, women and individuals of migrant background are represented to a higher degree in political bodies than before. In this article, we introduce the articles of Sociologisk Forskning’s special issue on the Swedish political landscape and give an overview of the main developments of politics and society in the country.
Keywords: political sociology, cleavages, radical right, Sweden, politics
|The changing political landscape in Sweden – Political cleavages, actors and processes ||s 139 |||Fulltext|
The political landscape in Sweden has undergone considerable changes in recent decades The number of political parties in the Swedish parliament has increased from five to eight, and the socio-economic issues of the traditional political right–left scale has been challenged by socio-cultural issues relating to lifestyle and identity. Notably, the notion of Swedish exceptionalism and the particularities of its welfare state is lingering despite findings pointing in the opposite direction e.g. with the increased electoral support for the radical right, and its ethno-nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The corporatist model has been challenged by new forms of political authority, participation and representation. New political actors, such as social movements and civil society actors, think tanks and policy professionals, are becoming increasingly engaged in political processes. The long-term trend suggests that traditionally marginalised groups, such as the young, women and groups of migrant background, are represented in decision-making forums to a higher degree than before. Yet, current conditions need further analysis. In this article, we provide a background to Sociologisk Forskning’s special issue on the political landscape of the parliamentary election in 2018.
Keywords: cleavages, political sociology, radical rightwing parties, the Sweden Democrats, Swedish Exceptionalism and the Swedish general election 2018
|The institutionalization of a new social cleavage – Ideological influences, main reforms and social inequality outcomes of ”the new work strategy” ||s 155 |||Fulltext|
The objective of this article is to analyse the ideological influences, main reforms and social inequality outcomes of “the new work strategy”, i.e. the former Swedish centre-right Alliance government’s work-first approach. By studying government bills and reports, official statistics, and research on welfare and labour market policies, discourses, policy measures and their outcomes have been analysed. The main conclusion is that Sweden, the former prototypical “social democratic” welfare state, has adopted a new institutional framework for social protection that we call a “work-first, consolidation state”. The reforms aimed at shrinking the welfare state were implemented by strengthening activation principles in social protection systems as well as a politics of lowering taxes, which has institutionalized a new social cleavage in Swedish society and resulted in a massive redistribution from the public sector to the private sector. We also discuss how the transformation of labour income taxes and social protection systems was legitimized by the Alliance’s discourse on “outsiderhood”, and one ideological influence is located in American discourses of the underclass.
Keywords: the new work strategy, Sweden, de-universalization, outsiderhood, work-first, consolidation state
|Den svenska tryggheten – En studie av en kriminalpolitisk symbol ||s 179 |||Fulltext|
Public safety in Sweden. A study of a crime policy symbol
Public safety has become an increasingly important part of crime policy debates in the Western countries. In Sweden, the concepts of trygghet (safety) and its negative counterpart otrygghet (insecurity) are often used in discussions about public safety and fear of crime. In this article, I argue that in order to understand Swedish crime policy, the symbolic meaning of these concepts cannot be overlooked. The political debates on public safety preceding the general elections in 2006, 2010 and 2014 are analysed with reference to three political parties: the Social Democratic party, the Conservative Party (Moderaterna) and the Sweden Democrats. By analysing the concept of safety (trygghet) as a condensation symbol, with its imaginative potential stemming from the historically strong relation between safety and the welfare state, this article illustrates how political solutions within the crime policy field are depicted as benign and universal. The article further explores how the political usage of the concept of safety generates feelings of ”national pride” to the general public.
Keywords: Sweden, public safety, safety/insecurity, crime policy, symbols, Nordic exceptionalism
|Slaget om hemmet – Värden, utanförskapanden och förorten som folkhemmets periferi ||s 203 |||Fulltext|
The struggle about home. Values, social exclusion and the suburb as the periphery of the People’s home
In this article, we analyse contemporary discourses about social exclusion in the suburbs. The empirical material is mainly based on speeches of different Swedish political party leaders during the Politician’s Week (politikerveckan) in Almedalen that took place in 2016. By adopting a discursive psychology approach, we have examined the interpretative repertoires and the discursive resources that the party leaders use to frame the suburbs as sites of ”parallel society”, criminality, passivity, gender oppression, radicalization and dominance of values that assumingly pose a threat to the social cohesion of Swedish society and the basis of the People’s Home. In order to remediate the ”crisis of values” in Swedish society that migration and social exclusion of suburbs have supposedly engendered, ”Swedish values” are highlighted as important resources to strengthen social cohesion and reclaim the endangered People’s Home. Thus, values are gradually becoming primary markers of difference and deployed to construct hierarchies of belonging and rights in the Swedish society.
Keywords:Suburbs, Values, Politics of Belonging, People’s Home, Social Exclusion
|Kommunalt koalitionsbyggande i ett nytt parlamentariskt landskap – Pragmatism i policyorienterade möjlighetsfönster ||s 225 |||Fulltext|
Coalition formation in a new municipal parliamentary landscape. Pragmatism in policy-related windows of opportunities
Coalition building in Swedish municipalities has traditionally been dominated by two political blocks at the opposite sides of the ideological left–right scale (Bäck 2003
Wångmar 2006). The success of the Sweden Democrats in the last elections have challenged that pattern. Statistics on coalition formation since the 2014 election indicate that the traditional policy scale no longer dominates local government. Coalitions of parties closely situated next to each other on the left–right scale are not as common as before. Interviews with 19 leading politicians in five Swedish municipalities that formed majority coalitions, including parties on the left as well as the right block, indicate that neither the traditional left–right scale nor the GAL–TAN dimension played a decisive role in these coalition formation processes. Instead, the ability of political parties to cooperate within the coalitions and building on personal chemistry, was considered the most important factor in the coalition building process on the municipal level.
Keywords: coalition formation
|When the media matters for electoral performance ||s 249 |||Fulltext|
In this article, we analyse the connection between media exposure and opinion polls for political parties or “the media influence”. We compare two parliamentary periods in Sweden: 2006–2010 and 2010–2014. Our results show that the media is important for the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats (SD) in the first period. This is not the case, or at least less so, for the other parliamentary parties. In the second period, media exposure wanes in importance for explaining poll fluctuations as well as shifts from national to regional media for the Sweden Democrats. These findings are in consonance with previous research which underlines that the media´s influence on electoral performance differs before and after the party has crossed the electoral threshold to the national parliament.
Keywords: media, party politics, polling behaviour, life cycle
|Unveiling the radical right online – Exploring framing and identity in an online anti-immigrant discussion group ||s 267 |||Fulltext|
Radical right online discussion groups have grown in importance in the Swedish political landscape, yet the dynamics of these groups are still poorly understood. Apart from their topical import, these groups provide a unique entrance to grassroots discourses of the radical right movement and the mechanisms for radical nationalist mobilization. In this paper, we present an analysis of the largest current anti-immigrant online discussion group in Sweden by using a combination of quantitative and qualitative content analysis. We argue that this type of social media group needs to be approached as both a “counterpublic” within a wider public sphere and as a “free social space” for social movements. The analysis reveals that the use of external links in the group reflects an active negotiation of frames that both confirm and contradict those of the group, thereby challenging a simplistic understanding of the so-called “echo chamber” dynamics. A form of collective identity can be discerned, mainly through the opposition to various outgroups and through an implicit form of nationalism expressed through the concern of “sacred objects” typically perceived to be under threat.
Keywords: automated text analysis, online counterpublic, radical right, social media, social movement
|Ungas politiska (icke-)deltagande på sociala medier – hellre offline? ||s 293 |||Fulltext|
Malena Rosén Sundström
Young people’s political (non-)participation in social media: Rather offline?
In the Swedish general election in 2018, social media is expected to play a major role for young people, since social media is their most important source for news and communication. This qualitative interview and focus group study analyses attitudes to political participation in social media of 110 Swedish young persons. Using an explorative perspective, this study offers empirical results, based on the attitudes of politically active as well as inactive participants, that partially contradict the existing body of research in the field. Results indicate that the participation divide, described in previous studies, is not as clear cut. It has been assumed that the politically confident young persons are more active in social media whereas the unconfident remain passive. However, our results indicate that such divides cut through the most confident and unconfident groups. Even some of the most active young people in the study state that they refrain from participating in social media. The study also shows that politically active individuals experience social pressure to participate in social media.
Keywords: political participation, social media, political discussion, political parties, online activism.
|Etniska hierarkier och (icke-)representation – Partikandidater med migrationsbakgrund vid svenska valet 2014 ||s 317 |||Fulltext|
Ethnic hierarchies and (non)representation. Party candidates with migration background in the general election of 2014.
This paper analyses the extent to which individuals with migration background were appointed and elected into different levels of public decision-making bodies in the latest Swedish general election (2014). Individuals of ”migration background” refers in this study to those born abroad or born in Sweden with two foreign-born parents. Data for this study is taken from Statistics Sweden’s register of candidates elected in municipal, county and national parliamentary elections in 2014, supplemented by information from other Statistics Sweden’s registers. The results demonstrate that:
(a) individuals with a migration background are severely underrepresented in the Swedish decision-making bodies
(b) even in cases when individuals with a migration background are nominated on the party lists, they have less of a chance of being elected compared to native candidates.
(c) The dominant ”resource theory” cannot explain the underrepresentation of the stigmatized migrant groups and their descendants, and finally
(d) the results indicate some support to the hypothesis about the importance of access to social networks in order to be nominated and elected.
Keywords: political representation, migration background, elections, decision-making bodies
|A Swedish culture of advocacy? Civil society organisations’ strategies for political influence ||s 341 |||Fulltext|
This article sets out to identify a culture of advocacy that has come to characterise Swedish civil society, formed around a long-standing tradition of close and cordial relations between civil society organisations, popular movements, and state and government officials. We argue that Swedish civil society organisations (CSOs) have been allowed to voice critique against public actors and policies and are expected to do so. Based on a large survey of Swedish CSOs, this study contributes unique data on what type of advocacy strategies CSOs practise, and the range of advocacy strategies that organisations employ. The analysis also explores norm-breaking behaviour, such as holding back criticism of public authorities. The results reveal a complex picture of a culture of advocacy: we find patterns of intense political activity among organisations that admit they hold back in their criticism of public authorities and the use of a wide range of advocacy strategies. The article contributes to and challenges established advocacy research and analyses established patterns of organisations’ advocacy activities with the symbolic acts of breaking norms, as an analytical approach for the study of advocacy strategies in general and advocacy culture in particular.
Keywords: advocacy strategies, advocacy culture, civil society organizations, critical voice function, political influence
|Från snack till organiserade nätverk – Om tankesmedjors arbete för att värva andra för sina idéer ||s 365 |||Fulltext|
From chatter to organized networks. How think tanks work to enrol others
Think tanks, both inside and outside the Swedish context, appear as something of a conundrum. Definitions and conceptual understandings of what think tanks actually do have not been adequately developed. One of the most urgent and unanswered questions regards how we understand the ability of think tanks to get other actors in the political landscape to use their ideas? Drawing on insights from 13 think thanks in Stockholm, the intention of this paper is to provide an empirically based and theoretically informed answer to this question. The results show that the activities colloquially termed ”networking” and ”agenda setting”, can be understood from an organisational perspective. These activities come across as intangible with uncertain outcomes but cannot be seen as random attempts to bridge think tankers and policy actors, but as decided actions designed to make other actors use their ideas in the future. At the same time, the organized relationships to other actors are ambiguous, as too close relationships may risk the think tank’s appearance of independency.
Keywords: think tanks, organizing networks, agenda setting, members, independency
|Hemmafru hemma – Återvändande migrantkvinnors möte med svenska jämställdhetsnormer i politik och praktik ||s 389 |||Fulltext|
A housewife “at home”. Returning migrant women’s encounters of Swedish gender equality in policy and in practice
This article discusses the experiences of Swedish migrant women who are returning to Sweden after having lived abroad for a period of their lives. Most of them have been situated outside the formal labour market during their time abroad and been occupied with family related work. The aim of this article is to analyse how political ideals formulated around work, gender equality and income redistribution, encounter the constructions of Swedishness, gender and heterosexuality in these women’s stories. When living abroad, the women were provided for by their husbands. Yet, their positions as “trailing spouses” had had severe impact on their opportunities for reintegration into the labour market as well as for their future – or current – pensions. The article discusses the political and sociological consequences of women’s economic dependence, primarily in terms of welfare state distribution and pensions by asking: In what ways are returning migrant women situated in-between a global labour market and the Swedish welfare system in relation to migration, gender and gender equality?
Keywords: return migration, gender equality, dual earner model, pension, national identity
|Bortträngning pågår – Renovering som kulturellt trauma ||s 415 |||Fulltext|
|Dominika V. Polanska
Displacement in the making. Renoviction as cultural trauma
Based on interviews with tenants in an area facing eviction following forced renovation, this study presents an analysis of the reactions and forms of resistance that arise among residents in the early phase of a renovation process. The concepts of cultural trauma, resistance and action repertoires are used in the analysis to understand the processes that residents in renovation areas have to face and how their collective self-image and strategies for action change during these. We argue that the exceptionally high trust in Sweden, based on the Swedish welfare state and housing policy, results in traumatic experiences among tenants when facing forced renovation. In this study, we respond to questions about how traumatic experiences are expressed, what causes are identified by the tenants, and what forms of resistance emerge among tenants who face costly renovations. We hereby demonstrate how the experienced cultural trauma can be transformed into individual and collective resistance actions.
Keywords: renovation, tenants, social trust, trauma, resistance
|Sociologförbundet har ordet ||s 441|||Fulltext| |||DiVA||
Skapad av Snorri Karlsson 2018/07/04
Uppdaterad av Snorri Karlsson