The aim of this study is to analyse the Swedish state´s ambition in achieving equality among its citizens. By studying the new urban policy introduced by the government in 1998 from a theoretical perspective the purpose of this essay is to understand the ideational dimensions in this policy project, in regard to established understandings about equality.
The theoretical framework on which this study is based consists of two different parts. The first presents dominating models on welfare states, mainly focusing on the socialdemocratic welfare state. The second introduces influential theoretical views on equality, primarily discussing universalism and a differentiated equality view. It also presents theoretical views on how to understand the relationship between the state an its citizens. This essay is taking its departure from a perspective based on constructionism, by asking how the problem was constructed and what the policy tells us. It is a case study using a discoursive approach in analysing the policy from an understanding of policies as arguments shaped by normative assumptions made by actors whose assumptions are limited by the discourse in which they exist.
The main result of the study is that since the policy was created while the socialdemocratic party was in government, the normative assumptions, on which the party base its analysis on society, therefore had a main influence on the policy. Even though the analysis of the policy shows a tendency in Swedish welfare politics moving away from universalism towards a differentiated view on equality, with the state still marked by communitarian ideals, there appears to be a resistance towards including the perspective of cultural recognition next to the traditional view on economic redistribution based on a class theory.