Social work law in nexus with migration law : A legal cartographic analysis of inter-legal spaces of inclusion and exclusion in Swedish legislation
Summary, in English
This article departs from the promise frequently put forward, that Social work is a profession committed to human rights. In a Swedish context, this commitment is manifested in ethical guidelines as well as national law referring to rights such as the right to ‘a reasonable living standard’. In recent years, politicized processes have allowed legislation guiding social work to interact deeply with other legal areas such as migration law which has a different raison d’être, focus and scope than social law (interlegality). This has greatly affected social workers opportunities to live up to its human rights commitment. In this article, we explore two critical incidents of interlegality in resent years, illustrated with two different empirical data sets and their intersection – a change in the Act on the reception of asylum seekers and others (1994:137) and a verdict by the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court concerning the ultimate protection net in the Social Services Act (2001, 453) (HFD 2017 ref. 33). Making use of cartographic analytical tools, we analyse transformations in the conditions set for access to a ‘reasonable living standard’ in Sweden. In particular, focus is on what the intersection of legal (vertical) scales and legal (horizontal) spaces perform, qua law, and how changes in one legal branch (migration law) deeply affect another area (social law). As a consequence, the Social Services Act, which is central to Swedish social work, may be constructed as a law about legal status rather than about needs and welfare rights. This has a profound impact on social work as a human rights profession.