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Social rights in the shadow of poor relief – social assistance in the universal Swedish welfare state

  • Alexandru Panican
  • Rickard Ulmestig
Publiceringsår: 2016-02-06
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 475-489
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Citizenship Studies
Volym: 20
Nummer: 3-4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Taylor & Francis

Abstract english

The idea of a European social citizenship is being developed by the EU

to provide a minimum safety net. Questions about social citizenship

are of fundamental importance in people’s everyday lives. Social

assistance is a central dimension when studying social citizenship.

Before discussing in terms of a European social citizenship, we should

determine whether we have a social citizenship at the national level.

We therefore analyse the Swedish welfare state, one of the most

mature welfare states in the EU. We conclude that the social right to

social assistance is not part of modern citizenship, nor does it follow the formal principles of legal citizenship rights. The law presupposes a considerable amount of discretionary power at the local level when it comes to identifying the deserving poor; something that goes against the definition of a legal citizenship right. The right to social assistance is still a reproduction of the old poor-relief logic.


  • Social Work
  • social assistance
  • social citizenship
  • EU
  • minimum safety net
  • europena social citizenship
  • national level
  • Welfare states
  • law
  • discretionary Power
  • local level
  • poor
  • deserving poor
  • right
  • old poor-relief


  • ISSN: 1469-3593
Alexandru Panican. Foto: Patrik Hekkala
E-post: alexandru.panican [at]



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