Life in the hands of welfare bureaucracy: the impact of austerity on disabled people in Sweden

Norberg, Ida Maria Josefine (2019) Life in the hands of welfare bureaucracy: the impact of austerity on disabled people in Sweden. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2019NorbergPhD.pdf] PDF
Download (1MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


Sweden has often been seen as the epitome of a social democratic welfare state. These accounts, however, often fail to take into consideration the development of neoliberal thought in Sweden and the expansion of austerity. Reflections regarding Sweden’s welfare state also often neglect to include disabled people. This is partly to do with the fact that the Swedish welfare state conflates illness and disability, which is rarely explored in Swedish disability research. This thesis will address these lacunas by investigating how disabled people in Sweden have been impacted by austerity. By looking at a range of areas, such as the social consequences of being a disabled person, bureaucracy, the representation of disabled people in economic theory, and employment, it offers a holistic approach to understand the development of Sweden into a neoliberal country and how disabled people have been affected by this change.

The data for this thesis was gathered by interviewing 24 disabled people, eight welfare professionals, and eight disability organisation representatives. Using thematic data analysis, it became clear that disabled people experience stigma and discrimination in Sweden and that welfare bureaucracy has significant an impact on their lives. This was particularly the case for those whom cannot access resources on the ‘free market’. The thesis argues that the decreased provision of welfare resources for disabled people require a broader reflection upon the normative nature of economic theory and the social position of disabled people in Sweden.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: disability, Sweden, neoliberalism, austerity, welfare, the welfare state, the state, welfare state, social democracy, bureaucratic violence.
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Watson, Prof. Nicholas
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Ida Norberg
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75113
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 09:10
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 10:19
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75113

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year