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Professor Anna Lundberg

Anna Lundberg

Head of department

Professor Anna Lundberg

Humanitära överväganden i asylprocessen : Balansövningar i spänningsfältet mellan solidaritet och ojämlikhet


  • Anna Lundberg

Summary, in English

Humanitarian considerations in the Swedish asylum process. A study of the migration authorities’ balancing act between solidarity and inequality. Medical certi cates are becoming increasingly important as a basis for asylum assessments. Using examples from 24 asylum decisions concerning children and their families, the present article discusses how the Swedish Migration Agency and the Migration Courts in Sweden make use of medical certi cates. e common denominator for the decisions was that the children had been waiting for long periods in Sweden for their case to be assessed, and that they were not considered in need of political protection but instead the question was whether they should be granted a residence permit because of distressing circumstances. e study’s practical knowledge about humanitarian considerations is analysed through the notions of bio-legitimation and bio- inequalities (Fassin 2009), which provide for an understanding of how meaning and value are att- ributed to children’s lives and health conditions in the Swedish asylum process. Previous studies of the management of migration, focusing on bio-political dimensions, have discussed the form of the exercise of power, and scholars interested in governmentality have highlighted the state admi- nistration as the unit of analysis. is study aims to provide an additional qualitative perspective in the eld of humanitarianism in the welfare state. Furthermore, the article seeks to introduce the above concepts of bio-legitimation and bio-inequalities in a Swedish context. e analysis of asylum cases shows that humanitarian considerations were entirely focused on formalities and that the child’s actual well-being was subordinate when their humanitarian reasons were investi- gated by the migration authorities and courts. is brought with it both a de-politicization and the fact that no substantial assessment of individual children’s health conditions came about. e growing political interest in children’s health in the asylum process paradoxically means greater limitation in how to appear as persons before the law.


  • Department of Sociology of Law

Publishing year







Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift





Document type

Journal article




  • Law and Society
  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations




  • ISSN: 1104-1420