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Alexandru Panican. Foto: Patrik Hekkala

Alexandru Panican

Docent | Universitetslektor | FD i socialt arbete

Alexandru Panican. Foto: Patrik Hekkala

Navigating the market of welfare services: The choice of upper secondary school in Sweden


  • Alexandru Panican
  • Torbjörn Hjort

Summary, in English

Due to increased market orientation and deregulation, welfare

services in Sweden have taken on the form of market-based services.

The body of research on deregulation and privatization is quite

substantial regarding the implications of this kind of development.

However, studies of the actual process of how choices are made are

less common. This article discusses the implications of greater

freedom of choice for Swedish citizens in diverse socioeconomic

situations, focusing on factors that limit opportunities for choice.

Deregulation and the increasing number of alternatives affect the

relationship between the citizen and the welfare state in several ways.

The Swedish school system is used here as an example of an

empirical field. The analytical focus of the article consists of two

different kinds of restrictions on choice: structure-based and agencybased.

One conclusion is that both affluent and underprivileged

citizens have limited choices. Another conclusion is that social citizenship, when freedom of choice is stimulated, can reproduce and

even increase social and ethnic segregation. An additional potential

consequence is that, when we consider social rights in their tangible

form, the development of greater freedom of choice is focused

increasingly on the consumer’s range of choices and less on the

quality of the service offered.


  • Socialhögskolan








Nordic Journal of Social Research




Artikel i tidskrift


  • Social Work


  • deregulation
  • market orientation
  • welfare services
  • Sweden
  • market-based services
  • privatization
  • freedom of choice
  • citizen
  • limit opportunities
  • underprivileged citizens
  • citizenship
  • rights
  • social rights
  • reproduce
  • social segregation
  • ethnic segregation
  • consumer
  • quality
  • school system




  • ISSN: 1892-2783