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Opening the Orange Envelope: Reform and Responsibility in the Remaking of the Swedish National Pension System
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A national pension system, like most large government policies, does many things, some of which involve governing the population and steering citizens in certain directions. This study, on the transformation of Sweden’s national pension system, sheds light on who the actors involved at different sites and levels in the policy process are, what they do, and how they do it. By mapping out the policy process - and the actors, practices and technologies involved - the workings of new forms of governance come into focus. Of particular interest is the way policy-making works as a governing tool in the contemporary Swedish welfare state. On a broader level, this study is concerned with how new forms of governance may alter the roles of, as well as affect the relationship between, state and citizen.

At the core of the study are the new forms of governance that are being brought forward in contemporary welfare state restructuring in which the logic, language and practices of the market are given increased salience also within the realm of government. Sweden’s new national pension system is seen as a ‘political technology’ with the power to transform society through its subjects; the citizens. The study shows how a set of interconnected technologies within the construction of the new national pension scheme brings about processes of both depoliticization and responsibilization.

Anthropological fieldwork was carried out among politicians, experts, technocrats, bureaucrats, government information personnel as well as among ‘ordinary’ citizens in an attempt to study ‘all the way through’ a policy process with significance to the ongoing transformation of the Swedish welfare state.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University , 2008. , 201 p.
Stockholm studies in social anthropology, ISSN 0347-0830 ; 64
Keyword [en]
Sweden, national pension system, welfare state reform, governance, political technology
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8240ISBN: 978-91-7155-745-2OAI: diva2:199875
Public defence
2008-10-31, hörsal 3, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2008-10-09 Created: 2008-10-09 Last updated: 2012-09-20Bibliographically approved

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