Research about judicial processes and regulations of welfare

My research concerns judicial regulations in the field of migration and social law, and their implementation. It also concerns local initiatives for human rights, and the basis for making rights claims, in the context of irregular migration.

I have investigated how the principle of children’s best interests is invented and re-invented, and given negative significance, in Swedish and other Nordic countries’ asylum processes. The categorisation of various groups in Swedish migration legislation and its application, not least its excluding mechanisms, in a welfare state such as Sweden, are not very well known in an international perspective. Another focus in my research are political initiatives, struggles and negotiations in Swedish cities, for sanctuary and other forms of inclusion in the sphere of rights bearers in the welfare state. This research has often taken place during active participation in, and support of, political actions.

I have led a governmental inquiry about practical impediments to enforcement, and in the autumn of 2017, I presented legal proposals that should prevent people from becoming legally stranded.

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Selected publications

Linus Hermansson, Anna Lundberg, Sabine Gruber, Andrew Jolly, Acob Lind, Erica Righard, Hanna Scott (2020)

International Social Work Continue to DOI

Anna Lundberg (2020)

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies Continue to DOI

Publications

2021

Torun Elsrud, Sabine Gruber, Anna Lundberg (2021) Inledning Rättssäkerheten och solidariteten - vad hände? , s. 9-21

2020

ResearchShow/Hide content

I am leading two research projects: "Advanced Legal Practices in the Welfare State. On displacements in the right to assistance for undocumented and poor EU citizens in three Swedish municipalities" (ARPIS) and "Collection of research data for review of legislation, law enforcement and legal security for people seeking asylum in Sweden during the period 2015–2017".

Advanced Legal Practices in the Welfare State

In the project Advanced Legal Practices in the Welfare State. On displacements in the right to assistance for undocumented and poor EU citizens in three Swedish municipalities(ARPIS), funded by FORTE, I collaborate with Maria Persdotter and Ulrika Wernesjö.

The aim of this project is to investigate displacements in the Swedish Social Service Act between 1982-2018 and its implications for social rights in the welfare state. This is done through the notion of advanced legal practices, which refer to incidents where the dominant current law is contested in legal application and this involves a transformation of the legal content. Focus of the project is the right to basic social assistance, which comprises emergency aid, including food and housing, for vulnerable EU migrants and undocumented persons. Special focus is children’s situation.

Advanced legal practices emerge at different legal levels and juridical spaces, for example when a decision-maker or judge neglects certain conditions or allows jurisdictions to interact in new ways. An example is a resent ruling by the Supreme Administrative C ourt’s HFD 2017 ref 33, which, through a reinterpretation of the linkage between the Social Service Act and Law on the reception of asylum seekers, destabilized the basic responsibility of the municipalities to provide emergency aid for everyone residing on their
territory. Regardless of the underlying motives, advanced legal practitioners have consequences for individuals as well as for social rights in general. It is therefore important to understand why and how such practices emerge.

The study concentrates on two basic social rights (food and housing) and two groups whose legal status in Sweden is ambiguous. Empirical material are 200 administrative court judgments, individual and group interviews, and local guidelines in three Swedish municipalities of different size with experience of EU-migration and refugee reception – Malmö, Norrköping and Älmhult. Our knowledge acquisition is a dialectic process through continuous collaboration with professionals. An exploration of the law enforcement over time in three municipalities, guided by approaches within legal cartography, spatial and temporal dimensions of law are demonstrated.

Legal security for people who sought refuge

The project Collection of research data for review of legislation, law enforcement and legal security for people seeking asylum in Sweden during the period 2015–2017 is funded by FORMAS and implemented withing the framework of the research initiative The Asylum Commission. I collaborate with Sofia Häyhtiö, Sabine Gruber, Emma Söderman and Torun Elsrud (Linnaeus University).

This project is a collection of research data about changes in asylum law for people who applied for protection in Sweden between 2015–2017. There is an urgent need to ensure future accessibility of research material that enables studies of the changes that took place in Swedish asylum legislation and law enforcement during the period, and of their consequences.

Many former asylum seekers who are currently living in Sweden, and whose experiences are of utmost importance for the project, have received an expulsion decision and will leave the country, or will soon be difficult to contact due to irregular stay. The rapid changes in Swedish migration law have been motivated by ‘concern for
society and its institutions at large’, but have brought consequences in the form of increasing homelessness, criminalisation, mental illness, split families and more expulsions where elements of violence are used. Children, young people and adults have been affected. While asylum seekers themselves have pointed to deficiencies, the responsible authorities and politicians have defended the procedures.

The project involves a broad collection of various empirical material: interviews about individuals’ experiences of the asylum process; documented observations and
case descriptions from professionals and civil society organisations; identification and presentation of attempts at mobilization to contest the changes, in Sweden and other countries.

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