Mobile EU citizens and the law: A socio-legal study of Italians’ adaptation to Sweden’s legal environment

University essay from Lunds universitet/Rättssociologiska institutionen

Abstract: When they migrate to another Member State (MS), EU citizens must adjust to a country whose legal environment is composed of both national laws and EU laws. Additionally, mobile EU citizens have their own legal culture which crafts the way they make sense of mundane circumstances and social interactions. What comes out of the mutual interplay between the host MS’s legal environment and mobile EU citizens’ legal culture? How does EU citizens’ legal culture emerge, and change, through their mundane interactions in the host MS? Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 16 Italians who live in Sweden, this thesis tackles these questions from a socio-legal standpoint. In particular, this thesis suggests that Italians who live in Sweden interact in mundane circumstances using cultural schemas that derive from both their European legal culture and their Italian legal culture. Over time, they also internalize traits of Swedish legal culture that give them new cultural sources to use in their social interactions. By recursively using cultural schemas deriving from EU, Italian, and Swedish law, Italians who live in Sweden thus contribute to the material definition of the real meanings of these three laws. Theoretically, this thesis contributes to existing socio-legal scholarly debates surrounding legal consciousness and legal culture, with a particular focus on the EU context.

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