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Seeking Asylum and Residence Permits in Sweden: Denial, Acknowledgement, and Bureaucratic Legitimacy
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
2014 (English)In: Critical Criminology, ISSN 1205-8629, E-ISSN 1572-9877, Vol. 22, no 2, 219-235 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sweden’s reputation as one of the most encompassing welfare states in the world is maintained by means of a good self-image, not least in relation to refugee policies. At the same time, external authorities have been critical of Sweden’s handling of the process of seeking asylum. Drawing on Stanley Cohen’s concepts of denial and partial acknowledgment, the article explores how Swedish state officials respond to complaints regarding the process of seeking asylum and other forms of residence permit. The study analyzes judgments from the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. The analysis suggests that even within the well-developed democratic state, denials constitute a form of account that may be utilized to maintain bureaucratic legitimacy. In addition, partial acknowledgments serve to present state actors as decent and self-correcting. At the same time these acknowledgements could be understood as constituting a means of avoiding moral censure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 22, no 2, 219-235 p.
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92371DOI: 10.1007/s10612-013-9206-3ISI: 000334052600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92371DiVA: diva2:638663
Available from: 2013-08-01 Created: 2013-08-01 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Controlling the Swedish state: Studies on formal and informal bodies of control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Controlling the Swedish state: Studies on formal and informal bodies of control
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The dissertation aims to develop an understanding of the outcomes and limitations of formal and informal control of the Swedish state, and of the positions and strategies of the social agents involved in this field. The dissertation contributes with new perspectives on controls directed at the state, comparing various control organs (the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice, the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights and NGOs) and focusing on a wide range of wrongs and harms by the Swedish state.

Paper I explores incidents for which the Swedish state and its agencies have been judged to be responsible by formal control organs. Paper II analyzes the accounts used by state representatives in judgments from formal control organs on issues related to migration. Paper III examines the characteristics of those who hold the state accountable via the European Court. Paper IV explores how formal and informal control organs frame problems in relation to the Swedish state’s treatment of residence permit applicants.

The studies demonstrate that formal domestic control organs mainly direct criticisms at state agencies that focus on particular and procedural issues. International bodies of formal and particularly informal control publish criticisms of the state that focus on general and systemic issues. The dissertation highlights how control organs offer limited access to accountability, and how controls of the state may be perceived as both ineffective and counterproductive. Another conclusion is that the positions and strategies of the agents in this field are dependent on their specific capital (resources, knowledge and support). Control of the state is understood as a field of struggle for recognition and legitimacy, in which accusations are denied by representatives of the state and control organs balance their criticism in order to maintain credibility. Both informal control organs and those who hold the state accountable must adjust to the rules of the game or risk being defined out.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, 2014. 86 p.
Series
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 36
Keyword
Parliamentary Ombudsman, Chancellor of Justice, United Nations, European Court of Human Rights, NGOs, control of the state, accountability, state crime, Sweden, techniques of neutralizations, problem representations, immigration
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110050 (URN)978-91-7649-067-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-01-16, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-04 Last updated: 2014-12-16Bibliographically approved

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