The Choice Revolution: Privatization of Swedish Social Services in the 1990s
2004 (English)In: Social Policy & Administration, ISSN 0144-5596, E-ISSN 1467-9515, Vol. 38, no 2, 171-193 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
During the 1990s, the Swedish welfare state was declared by some to be in a “crisis”, due to both financial strain and loss of political support. Others have argued that the spending cuts and reforms undertaken during this period did slow down the previous increase in social spending, but left the system basically intact. The main argument put forward in this article is that the Swedish welfare state has been and is still undergoing a transforming process whereby it risks losing one of its main characteristics, namely the belief in and institutional support for social egalitarianism. During the 1990s, the public welfare service sector opened up to competing private actors. As a result, the share of private provision grew, both within the health-care and primary education systems as well as within social service provision. This resulted in a socially segregating dynamic, prompted by the introduction of “consumer choice”. As will be shown in the article, the gradual privatization and market-orientation of the welfare services undermine previous Swedish notions of a “people's home”, where uniform, high-quality services are provided by the state to all citizens, regardless of income, social background or cultural orientation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 38, no 2, 171-193 p.
welfare, politics, choice, privatization, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-18685DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2004.00382.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-18685DiVA: diva2:46457