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Reimagineering the Nation

Essays on Twenty-First-Century Sweden


Edited By Aleksandra Ålund, Carl-Ulrik Schierup and Anders Neergaard

This collection of essays offers a critical analysis of neoliberal transformation as it has unfolded in Sweden, long regarded as exemplary in terms of social welfare, equality and an inclusive multicultural democracy. The book presents a multidisciplinary exposition on Sweden, seen in a wider European perspective. It addresses changing frameworks of citizenship, welfare and democracy, migration and asylum, urban segregation and labour market segmentation and processes of securitization. It illuminates intersecting dimensions of class, gender and racialization and juxtaposes xenophobic populism with new social justice and antiracist movements on a changing political stage. Addressing a growing alignment with retrogressive illiberal policies across Europe, the volume exposes the reach of the adverse direction in which European «integration» is currently heading.

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9. Welfare Policing and the Safety–Security Nexus in Urban Governance: The Expanded Cohesion Agenda in Malmö (Randi Elin Gressgård)


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Randi Gressgård

9. Welfare Policing and the Safety-Security Nexus in Urban Governance: The Expanded Cohesion Agenda in Malmö1

Abstract: Based on a critical policy study of crime prevention in Malmö, this chapter discusses how partnership agreements between the police and local authorities intensify and widen the scope of policing in immigrant-dense areas, conflating welfare with crime prevention.


Critical urban theorists have emphasised the vanishing of spaces for collectivisation, or urban commons, resulting from privatisation of public goods and services, the dismantling of municipal infrastructures and other neoliberal features of contemporary urban governance (Mayer 2012: 78). At the same time, discourses on social cohesion and civic integration have taken a stronghold in urban governance, particularly in Europe. Rather than seeing this as a contradiction, I attempt to demonstrate how cohesion discourse underpins neoliberal trends of moralisation of citizenship and responsibilisation of subjects in urban governance. I do not see this as a dismantling of municipal infrastructures, however. I shall argue instead that established welfare state structures and institutions form the basis for variegated modes of security: more police enforcement in conjunction with more police involvement in ‘social’ policy interventions.

In the first part of the chapter, I will probe the safety–security nexus from a theoretical point of view, arguing that crime prevention has less to do with preventing people from violating the law and more to do with securing order and regulating spaces in...

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