ON THE SWEDISH SOCIAL INSURANCE AGENCY AND ITS APPROACH TO DIVERSITY: A Study of Social Inclusion and Diversity in the Swedish Social Insurance System (SSIA)
Abstract: Previous research has shown that the study of diversity need to account for variables other than ethnicity and nationality in order to provide more nuanced findings of the local diversity of experiences also on the basis of e.g. age, gender, migration status and linguistic diversity. Service provision is affected by the diversity of needs and providers may have difficulties meeting these needs if local diversity is not adequately assessed and understood. This, in turn, has implications for equal service provision for all. The aim of this study is to provide a better understanding of the ways in which the approach to diversity impacts migrants’ access to welfare provision and public services with specific reference to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) (Försäkringskassan). Service officers from the SSIA were interviewed for this research. The concept of superdiversity and its components language and migrant networks have contributed to the theoretical framing to analyze the service officers’ experiences of SSIA guidelines on diversity, social inclusion and equal provision. This study aim to contribute towards the literature on superdiversity with a study of a central service provider in the Swedish context.The main findings of this study demonstrates that the SSIA’s approach to diversity of their clients is underdeveloped to such a degree that a strategy for equal treatment remains an ideal only. Service officers are left to implement equal provision without help of formal guidelines and is likely to generate considerable local variations. Ultimately, the implication is that the statutory right of receiving equal service or welfare provision on equal terms is not achieved.
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