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  • 1.
    Hansson, Erik
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    "Det känns fel": Om det svenska samhällets reaktioner på närvaron av tiggande EU-medborgare, 2014-20162019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis offers a psychoanalytic critique of ideology in order to understand the Swedish society’s reactions to the presence of begging EU citizens during the period 2014 – 2016. The so-called ‘EU migrants’ are impoverished people, often from Romania, and commonly identified as Roma. The analysis is based upon empirical material consisting of media articles, interviews, social media, and auto-ethnography. The theoretical approach blends Lacanian psychoanalysis with historical-material dialectics and is inspired by the critique of ideology as formulated by Slavoj Žižek. 

    The presence causes a multilayered crisis in Swedish society along political, juridical, moral, social, and psychic lines. This because it is a symptom of the Lacanian Real and capitalism’s contradictions. This is manifested in the contradiction embodied in the Swedish authorities’ denial of social help to ‘EU migrants’ on the one hand, while seeking on the other hand to reproduce the image of Sweden as promoting welfare and equality, solidarity, and anti-racism. The contradiction’s material base is the political deadlock between left and right regarding the labor and housing markets. Providing ‘EU migrants’ (being neither citizens nor refugees) access to welfare would risk disrupting the societal moral economy, causing political turmoil. The solution to this dilemma is to expunge ‘EU migrants’ while framing this as an act of poverty-reduction.

    Meanwhile, the unresolved occurrence of begging and ‘rough sleeping’ creates anxiety and provokes aggression among Swedish subjects, resulting in hate crimes and everyday racism. Poor people without shelter are forced to use public rooms as their private space, disturbing aesthetic and normative orders, which in turn is unconsciously registered as existential transgressions risking the destruction of the psychic investments of Swedes in their material surroundings.

    A main focus of the analysis is the anxiety triggered by the confrontation with a begging individual on the sidewalk. Due to our human empathic transitivity, the visible suffering of the ‘beggar’ becomes involuntarily experienced as suffering within the observer. Furthermore, when the subject is forced to choose whether or not to help, s/he unconsciously experiences how the Other’s desire threatens to dissolve the subject. These anxieties are typically transformed into sympathy, antipathy or apathy.    

  • 2.
    Hansson, Erik
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    Hotet mot det svenska samhällskontraktet: Hur tiggeri i Stockholm aktiverar det personliga moraliska ansvaret2015In: Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift, ISSN 0037-833X, Vol. 92, no 3, p. 343-351Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Hansson, Erik
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    Psychoanalysis and the glObal2019In: Social & cultural geography (Print), ISSN 1464-9365, E-ISSN 1470-1197Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Hansson, Erik
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    Varför saknar "EU-migranter" boende i Sverige?2018In: Studier om Rasism: : Tvärvetenskapliga perspektiv på ras, vithet och diskriminering / [ed] Andreas Wazniowski, Tobias Hübinette, Malmö: Arx förlag , 2018Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Hansson, Erik
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    Jansson, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    Who’s afraid of the 'beggar'?: A psychoanalytic interpretation of the crises triggered by the begging of 'EU migrants' in Sweden2019In: Social & cultural geography (Print), ISSN 1464-9365, E-ISSN 1470-1197Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The presence of poor migrants from the EU countries of Romania and Bulgaria (mainly Roma subjects)  who beg in Swedish cities has since 2010 caused a collective crisis in Sweden, affecting Swedish identity and institutions such as the (local and national) welfare state. Employing a psychoanalytic framework, inspired primarily by Lacan and Žižek, we describe the various dimensions of this crisis and explain the socio-psychological processes that produce the experience of crisis. We argue that the reason the ‘EU migrant’/’beggar’ produces these crises is because this figure is a symptom of the Real. Encounters with ‘EU migrants’ in the Swedish landscape become ethical encounters with the Real within three main realms: intersubjective (individual), national identity (collective), and political economy (institutional). The individual experiences an ethical crisis where no action in the meeting with a ‘beggar’ provides a satisfactory solution to the problem. The presence of ‘EU migrants’ also threatens to undermine the hegemonic Swedish self-image as a moral superpower. And the ‘EU migrant’s’ presence interferes with the nation’s desire to believe in its political and economic institutions. Finally, the attempt to satisfactorily locate responsibility for solving the problem of the ‘EU migrant’ reveals contradictions within capitalism, nationalism, and liberalism as they operate in the Swedish context.

  • 6.
    Hansson, Erik
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    Mitchell, Don
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
    The Exceptional State of “Roma Beggars” in Sweden2018In: European Journal of Homelessness, ISSN 2030-2762, E-ISSN 2030-3106, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 15-40Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Across Europe, social-democratic, liberal democracies have become host to growing numbers of impoverished EU migrants (often called “Roma beggars”) who seem to pose a challenge to the tenets of egalitarianism and social protection that are the foundation of the welfare state. Sweden is no exception. Nor has it been exceptional in its response: creating what can be described as a “state of exception” for homeless, impoverished EU migrants wherein they are afforded fewer rights, and almost no access to care, compared to other migrants to the country (such as refugees and asylum seekers). In this paper we examine the nature of this “state of exception” – and consequent denial of rights for poor and homeless EU migrants – and how it has been justified by invoking the inherent fairness of the Swedish system. We do so by reviewing, but especially extending, the Italian philosopher Georgio Agamben’s concepts of state (and space) of exception, bare life, and homo sacer to describe the way homeless EU migrants are understood and treated in Sweden, and then by carefully examining the major policy statement on the matter, the “Valfridsson Report,” which was written to harmonize practices across Swedish jurisdictions while providing the legal basis for making an exception of impoverished EU migrants, and which is now being implemented in law. 

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