Democracy the Swedish Way?: the Exclusion of ‘Immigrants’ in Swedish Politics
2007 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 30, no 2, 53-74 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Official declarations state that Sweden is today a multicultural society. At the same time, ethnichierarchies have become increasingly conspicuous in contemporary Sweden. Recently, a governmentalinquiry on structural discrimination in Swedish society presented a report analysing therelationship between the multi-ethnic composition of the Swedish population and participationin Swedish politics. This article discusses some of the main findings of the report. On the basisof a number of case studies, it illustrates how inequalities in terms of participation and influencein Swedish politics are (re)produced. One of the main conclusions drawn in the article is that allcitizens that participate in Swedish politics are faced with a series of routines, conventions and idea(l)scategorising citizens according to their perceived closeness to a Swedish ‘normality’. Thus, democracynot only constitutes a formalised system of impartial procedures and conventions, routines andnorms that regulate the political process in a way that guarantees freedom and equality to allparticipants. Rather, political participation also reflects exclusionary practices long well-documentedin, for example, the housing and labour markets. In order to understand these practices, itis necessary to examine the historical interconnections betweennationalismanddemocracy. Bymeans of the recurrent characterisation of Swedish democracy as specifically Swedish, it becomesthe job of Swedes to ‘enlighten’ the ‘immigrants’ to become ‘Swedish democrats’. This specificconceptualisation of democracy is founded on the ideal of an archaic national community, whichin contemporary multi-ethnic Sweden is not capable of including the whole population on equal terms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 30, no 2, 53-74 p.
International Migration and Ethnic Relations
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-72574DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00177.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-72574DiVA: diva2:503229