The co-constitution of domestic and international welfare obligations: The case of Sweden’s social democratically inspired internationalism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sweden’s self-narrative is that of an outward-looking internationalist state whose commitments to justice and equality are not confined to co-nationals. What distinguishes Swedish internationalism, apart from being social democratically inspired, is that it rests on a thin conception of cosmopolitan duty that does not exclusively privilege the rights of Swedish nationals alone, but recognizes the need to extend social and political rights to non-nationals as well. Key here is the universality principle of the Nordic welfare model, which inspires policies that do not tend to discriminate on the basis of class or ethnic background. What is more, this way of thinking has not generally been confined to the domestic level, but can be traced through to Sweden’s (and the other Nordic states’) distinctive foreign policy traditions. This article examines the inter-connection between domestic and international welfare commitments in the Swedish context. The key thesis developed here is that states that promote the values of solidarity, inclusiveness and universal welfare at the national level are also more likely to do so beyond borders. The article deconstructs the endogenously framed ideational factors that underpin Swedish internationalism, with particular focus on social democracy in the process. It also investigates the co-constitutive relationship between Sweden’s domestic and international welfare commitments by exploring contemporary discourses and practices that make up a significant part of Sweden’s self-identity. Finally, it analyses the normative relevance of a social democratically inspired Swedish internationalism for the future of Nordic internationalism more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-99
Number of pages27
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • internationalism
  • social democracy
  • solidarity
  • Sweden
  • universal welfare

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The co-constitution of domestic and international welfare obligations: The case of Sweden’s social democratically inspired internationalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this