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Diversity and Solidarity in Denmark and Sweden
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5662-3579
2015 (English)In: On conference website, 2015Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How should we understand that Denmark and Sweden – two countries with manifold features in common – have arrived at strikingly divergent policy responses towards immigrant integration? This paper suggests that, despite similar references to welfare state symbols, dominant national identity constructions in the two countries represent distinctly different ideal typical views on how social solidarity is generated and maintained. In Denmark official political discourse and policy making processes indicates the working of a society-centered perspective on national identity, emphasizing social cohesion as a necessary precondition for public institutions to sustain. This idea is arguably reflected in the Danish immigrant policy approach, where the inclusion of newcomers is conditioned on them acquiring a comprehensive set of demands defining a predefined (and ‘settled’) idea of Danishness. In comparison, the Swedish idea about national identity is more oriented towards a state-centered approach, in the sense that the capacity of the political institutions – notably the welfare state – is typically emphasized as the core promoter of social inclusion and sense of national belonging. In the field of immigrant integration, this idea is mirrored in a widespread conviction that the organization of welfare state institutions, rather than the spirit of the people, constitutes the necessary condition for creating and sustaining national cohesion and integration. The paper gives a historical account of the nation building processes in the two countries and shows that crucial differences in political perceptions along the ideal types mentioned above are to be identified in contemporary political discourses related to the ‘civic’ turn in immigrant integration policies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29107OAI: diva2:893504
The 22nd International Conference of Europeanists Contradictions: Envisioning European Futures (arranged by Council for European Studies), Paris, July 8–10, 2015.
Från mångkulturalism till assimilation? Svensk integrationspolitik i europeisk belysning.
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P10-0752:1
Available from: 2016-01-12 Created: 2016-01-12 Last updated: 2016-09-21Bibliographically approved

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