Swedish social democracy and the welfare state

Posted on Friday 28th October 2011

Stockholm, Sweden

Robert Page, Reader in Democratic Socialism and Social Policy, has recently returned from a two week trip to Stockholm, funded by the College of Social Sciences, in which he explored current developments in Swedish social democracy and the welfare state.

In 2010 the Social Democratic Party lost a second consecutive General Election for the first time since the 1930s, which has resulted in a change of Party leader (Juholt) and renewed internal debate about how best to respond to the economic and social agenda developed by Fredrik Reinfeldt’s centre-right coalition government.  Interviews were conducted with Carl Tham and Sverker Gustavsson (former Social Democratic Ministers); Irene Wennermo (Principal Secretary for the Government Commission on Social Security); Christian Kellermann (Director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation for the Nordic Countries); Hakan Bengtsson and Eric Sundstrom (of the independent `left’ leaning think tank Arenagruppen), Katrine Kielos (leader writer on  Aftonbladet); Stefan Svallfors, (Professor of Sociology at the University of Umea, whose most recent work on public attitudes towards the welfare state has just been published); Kajsa Borgnas ( former Chair of the Social Democratic Party’s Student Association and member of the `crisis’ commission); Ingemar Lindberg (former social policy advisor to the trade Union Organisation (LO) and Head of Idedebatt);  Urban Lundberg (of the Institute for Future Studies)  Goran Dahlgren (former Director of Health Services in Sweden) and  Eva Cooper (of the `right’ leaning think tank Timbro).

Robert was also invited to speak on `Cameron Conservatism and the welfare state. Towards a third way?’ at the department of Social Work at the University of Umea.

Robert is extremely grateful to Jenny Andersson, Henning Meyer, Magnus Ryner, Mikko Kuisma, Magnus Wennerhag and John Veit-Wilson for their help and advice in connection with his visit.


Robert will be talking to the Wealth and Welfare research group in IASS about `contemporary challenges to the Swedish welfare state’ on Wednesday 30th November 2011.