Research Seminar in Sociology of Law with Jonna Rennerskog
The Sociology of Law Department arranges a series of research seminars inviting local and international social scientists to present state-of-the-art research within various areas of law and society.
Exclusionary Inclusion: On rights, regulation and responsibilities in the Swedish welfare state
Sweden is usually seen as being at the forefront of advocating for children’s rights and there is a growing trend to give the rights of the child a prominent role within the legal system. Simultaneously, one of the most central notions of the Swedish welfare state is the idea of the state having a certain responsibility to protect children. This thesis takes the opportunity of legal change through the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into national law in 2020 to study the role and function of children’s rights in a changing Swedish welfare state with a specific focus on state-driven coercive care. Doing so, it set out to problematize legal rights as the site of struggle in the strive for social justice. More specifically, it examines the transformation process of CRC into Swedish legislation as a tool for achieving social justice for children in coercive care by exploring the conflict between children as rights holders and collectivistic and paternalistic values of state protection as an immanent crisis. Situating coercive care as a social right and welfare service the thesis contributes an important problematization of the Swedish welfare state’s ‘inclusionary’ mechanism. It shows how the internal moral logic of the welfare state, traditionally viewed as benevolent and universalistic, involves an evaluation of social worth closely connected to poor-laws of post-reformistic Europe that are working in tandem with processes of neoliberalisation, resulting in an exclusionary inclusion of children placed in the care of the state.
Jonna Rennerskog is a PhD Candidate in the Criminology department at Stockholm University. Her area of interest lies in the relationship between formal social control and welfare. More specifically, in the relationship between administrative state control and administrative incarcerations practised beyond the realm of criminal law (practices that may be called punishment in all but name) and social rights. Her research focuses on the organisation and governance of locked state-driven coercive care of children as a social right within a changing welfare state. Her thesis explores the role and function of coercive care of children in the modern welfare state. Of specific interest is coercive care’s inherent tension between coercion, care and protection in relation to the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Swedish law and a general ‘juridification’ of rights.