Research in welfare law receives SEK 3.8 million

FORTE – the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare has awarded SEK 3.8 million for a research project in welfare law at the Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University. The project will study, among other topics, displacements of the right to social assistance for undocumented persons and poor EU citizens in three Swedish municipalities. Start of the project is scheduled for January 2019.

dramatic portrait of a little homeless boy, dirty hand, poverty, city, street Shifts in the right to assistance for undocumented bodnarchuk

Anna Lundberg, professor of welfare law in the Department of Social and Welfare Studies, will be project manager, and has been awarded the research grant in collaboration with Pia Kjellbom and Ulrika Wernesjö.

“We will investigate how displacements in the application of law, in particular the basic social rights of food and housing, have taken place over time in several locations, for people with ambiguous legal status in Sweden”, says Anna Lundberg.

The aim of the project is to examine changes in the contents of social rights, in particular the rights to food and housing established by the Social Services Act, since it came into force in 1982. The project will also concern the consequences in general of setting limits to rights to welfare. The concept of “advanced legal practices” is used in this context.

“The way in which rights arise and are recreated is partly a question of what is established by legal assessments and decisions. The use of advanced legal practices can ensure that people in need of support from the state receive it”, says Anna Lundberg.

By studying the application of law over a sufficiently long period at three locations, inspired by a perspective of jurisprudence and the social sciences, the project will illuminate spatial and temporal dimensions of the law.

“Legislation and changes in the law have a huge significance for people’s conditions of life. Even the most fundamental social rights in the welfare state can be eroded by the way in which the law is applied”, Anna Lundberg concludes.

The project will focus on the right to social assistance including emergency aid, in which the right to food and housing may be elements, for undocumented people and poor EU citizens. The situation of children will be given a special focus.

It is planned that the project will start in January 2019, and that a postdoc will be employed to work on the project.


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