Samhälle, individ och ansvar En studie om synen på arbetslöshet
Sammanfattning: The aim of the thesis is to highlight and to problematize conceptions of unemployment in Swedish society. The questions guiding my work have been: Which conceptions of unemployment emerge in society? How are these dealt with by the unemployed? Work on the thesis has been guided by a social constructionist approach. The empirical findings are constituted by four publications which, in various ways, are linked to overarching aim of the thesis. These publications consist of an analysis of the legal regulation surrounding the unemployed, a study of the activities of civil society organisations working with unemployed and two publications based on interviews with long-term unemployed young adults.The thesis provides increased knowledge of conceptions of unemployment in Swedish society. It shows that there is a widespread societal discourse concerning the individual being responsible for her/his unemployment, and that this conception has historically been well-grounded in Swedish labour market and social policy, as well as in people’s understandings. Among representatives of civil society organisations and unemployed individuals, there is also both a questioning of and a resistance to this understanding, indicating a possible change in the discourse. The thesis further shows that the individualisation of responsibility greatly affects individuals’ approaches in social contexts, as well as in their contacts with government agencies, but also when it comes to relationships with politics and political involvement. These insights are significant, for example during both policy formulation and efforts for the unemployed, bearing in mind that consideration needs to be paid to individual prerequisites in order for the individual’s strengths and abilities to be utilized. This is particulary important when it comes to those in an exposed position.
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