Sweden has, until recently, enjoyed exceptional status as a welfare state which has extended health and welfare benefits to large number of immigrants, in particular refugees and asylum seekers, without a breakdown in social cohesion.
In 2009, civil unrest occurred across a range of city suburbs with a high proportion of people of immigrant background, and has been interpreted as an expression of discontent from young people unable to enjoy the full benefits of a well ordered society (Schierup and Alund 2011) in terms of access to housing and labour markets (Andersson, Magnusson Turner, and Holmqvist 2010). The rioting occurred in outlying suburbs know as ‘förorter’ where the housing is characterised by the mass building project of the 1960s and 1970s which have come to be seen as problematic areas where crime and a lack of social cohesion are concentrated.
Since official data are not collected around ethnicity or religion, the higher proportion of people of immigrant background in problematised suburbs has had the effect of racialising city zones. We interrogate this process by looking at news and website reporting and political commentary about unrest which has included arson of private (cars) and communal property (libraries and nursery schools) and stoning of public vehicles (busses and ambulances) occurring in two areas of a large Swedish city. The racialising effects of constructing spatial divisions between zones of the city are examined in how problematic outlying suburbs are described.
237 words without including references
Andersson, R. et al. 2010. Contextualising Ethnic Residential Segregation in Sweden: Welfare, Housing and Migration-Related Policies. Country Report for Sweden. NORFACE Research Programme on Migration.
Schierup, C.-U., and A. Alund. 2011. “The End of Swedish Exceptionalism? Citizenship, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Exclusion.” Race & Class 53 (1): 45–64.