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Medicalization of unemployment: individualizing social issues as personal problems in the Swedish welfare state
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business.
2009 (English)In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 23, no 3, 405-421 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article reports qualitative data on how the Swedish Public Employment Service classifies unemployed individuals as 'occupationally disabled' in order to transfer them to various labour market programmes. The article draws on a framework of medicalization, arguing that the individualization of the social issue of unemployment into a personal trouble of disability is a neglected yet important phenomenon that has interesting implications for theory and policy. By classifying some people as disabled in order to explain their unemployment, medicalization can be seen as an important yet so far neglected mechanism in understanding how this individualizing enterprise comes about. It is concluded that by medicalizing unemployment, the target for society's intervention to fight the spectre of unemployment is primarily individuals' personal troubles rather than any social issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 23, no 3, 405-421 p.
Keyword [en]
individualization, labour market programmes, medicalization, unemployment
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-59933DOI: 10.1177/0950017009337063ISI: 000270129800001OAI: diva2:432761
authorCount :1Available from: 2011-08-05 Created: 2011-08-02 Last updated: 2012-02-14Bibliographically approved

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