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The Swedish Model: Challenges for social work with social exclusion

This course is intended as a general introduction to the emergence and development of the Swedish welfare state with a focus on the welfare states importance for social work.

The course consists of three parts.

A first where the historical context and political circumstances that form the basis for the Swedish model is highlighted. This part covers key areas of political economy and welfare policy, social rights, relationships and power relations in the labor market, gender aspects of welfare policy, welfare state organization and distributional outcomes and changes in conditions in the Swedish model.

A second part study social exclusion. Social exclusion is understood as a multidimensional process leading to different forms of exclusion that prevents people to fully participate in and share activities and possibilities that citizens normatively mostly share. Social exclusion is analyzed with intersectional perspectives including class, gender and ethnicity. The goal is to understand processes leading to exclusion and to understand processes towards inclusion.

A third part will cover central parts of the national welfare law, in particular Swedish social welfare legislation. The part of the course covers key aspects of the Swedish welfare law in relation to international law and human rights, with particular focus on children's rights. The course deepens the student's skills and ability to integrate welfare law in the context of relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects of social work and to argue and come to reasoned conclusions about welfare law based on different theoretical perspectives.

  • Course structure

    The following themes will be treated during the course:

    • Political theories of the welfare state and the constitutional state
    • The public sector and welfare policy
    • Gender aspects of welfare policy
    • Social inclusion and exclusion
    • Social work based on law and human rights
    • Central aspects of social work
    • Contemporary development trends
    • analyse contemporary development trends in welfare policy and their consequences for social work

    Upon successful completion of the course students shall be able to:

    • describe the emergence and transformation of the Swedish model in a historical perspective
    • identify important driving forces and actors behind the Swedish model using political theories of the welfare state
    • describe and discuss the place and function of social work in the Swedish welfare model
    • reflect upon how including and excluding practices arise and their importance for social work
    • analyse and discuss the Swedish welfare model and social work with a point of departure in relevant law and human rights, including the child perspective


    Module 1: MOD4 The Swedish model 4, 5 credits

    Module 2: EXCL Social exclusion, 5 credits

    Module 3: SLAW Law in social work. 5 credits

    Teaching format

    Instruction is in the form of lectures and seminars with active student participation. Course language: English.


    In a final degree this module may not overlap in terms of knowledge content with any other similar module.


    Please see course syllabus for more detailed information about the examination for the different modules. 


    Not yet appointed.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

  • Contact

    Torbjörn Bildtgård