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ABSTRACT

CONFLICTING IDEAS OF PERSON AND FAMILY IN SWEDISH INTEGRATIONPOLICY AND WEST-AFRICAN CULTURAL PRACTICES

EVA WIKSTRÖM - UMEA

 

Swedish integration policy is carried out within the context of Swedish social policy generally. It is primarily a responsibility of the municipalities to carry out activities and provide measures or services to integrate immigrants into our society. The goal of Swedish integration policy is to act to ensure newly arrived person's participation in society, while respecting the immigrant's choices around preserving cultural ways of life and ethnic distinctiveness. How does policy work in practice? In society's interventions to promote a newcomer's economic and social security, tensions are revealed between institutional practices and newcomers' ideas about how to live one's life. This lecture is built on experiences of municipalities' work to integrate refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia. The municipalities' interventions are carried out according to the principles of 'equal treatment' and the rule of law, but are also built upon underlying ideas about individual and family. Measures taken by municipalities to attain refugees' participation make clear the welfare state's underlying individualistic ideology and views of the nuclear family.

 
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