Journal article
Neoliberal Steering in Swedish Integration Policy : the Rise and Fall of Introduction Guides

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Publication Details
Author list: Lidén, Gustav
Publication year: 2019
Start page: 23
End page: 40
Number of pages: 18
ISSN: 2000-8058


In the past decades, many policy sectors within European countries have encountered political reforms of neoliberal character. One of the key shifts has been the reorientation of public employment services that has been enforced, for example, through the establishment of what have been denoted as quasi-markets. Simultaneously with the rise of quasi-markets, welfare policy as a whole, including integration policy, has beenincreasingly oriented toward “activation”, with its focus on the individual’s obligationsand duties in relation to welfare services. These circumstances pose particular challenges to those charged with the governance of welfare services due to increasingly complex requirements for collaboration and control involving a multitude of actors. The reform is an example of a hybrid system where for- and non-profit actors compete for the“customer”, in this case, the newly arrived immigrant. This article focuses on the changes in Swedish integration reform as an archetype of these changes and studies a clearly defined case study. Empirically, this study draws from both documents and interviews. The article illustrates an unregulated and ill-monitored policy containing a model that comprises mixed modes of steering. The governance of the reform bears traits from both centralist and cooperative forms of governance and, thereby, involves competing philosophies of steering.

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