Talking about labor market integration. Discourses, theories and alliances in Sweden
Integration has been launched as a core challenge for Western European countries in the 21st century. The co-existence of majority and minorities raises a long list of important questions to governments, NGOs, researcher, bureaucrats, and media as well as for individual citizens and non-citizens alike. National policies are formed, discussed and implemented on the basis of how these actors perceive, discuss and act regarding the blending of early and late arrivals to a nation.
In this study we take a closer look at integration and how it is understood, discussed and managed in . Although labor market integration will be the focal point, a discussion of the broader phenomenon of inclusion and exclusion will serve as a backdrop.
We base our study on the notion that there are several ways to perceive, discuss and act regarding integration. Actors find other actors that have similar views and suggestions for solutions. A fitting metaphor could be to say that integration is currently being discussed in several rooms in. Within these rooms there is a certain agreement about the fundamentals regarding the phenomenon, i.e. about the state of integration, the causes for lack of integration and its remedies. The discourses also seem to vary when it comes to the ideal situation they wish to fulfill, their utopia. What would the situation be like with regard to labor market integration if all their wishes came true? In our study we will study the content, involved actors and dynamics of these separate discourses. Outside these rooms there are public arenas. How the public discourse is structured and influenced by the various actors is a central theme of the study.
We will conduct interviews with central politicians, bureaucrats, researchers, journalists and representatives of minority groups. Through these interviews we seek to gain access to what we call “theories of labor market integration”.
The mapping of the labor market discourses in has a concrete ambition. One of the tasks of the European Social Fund is to finance projects that aim at increasing the integration on labor market. In order for that organization to have a firm basis for evaluating applicants, they need a broad understanding of the situation and actors involved in labour market integration in Sweden.