Welcome to the migration seminar

One step back or two steps forward? Pathways in Swedish municipalities'
integration policies after the 'crisis'.


Måns Lundstedt, Research assistant, Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö University


This paper asks how the “migration crisis” of 2012-2016 affected the development of Swedish municipalities’ integration policies. The paper conceptualizes the “crisis” as a critical juncture composed of multiple factors, including a rapid rise and decline in demand for accommodation and integration services, an increasingly hostile political environment, and changes in national policy and policy implementation. It thereby combined opportunities for reform with growing constraints on existing policies. The crisis had far-reaching but varied consequences at the local level, leading to distinct pathways in the subsequent development of local policies.

Through the analysis of policy documents and interviews with policymakers and professionals from six small- and medium-sized municipalities, the paper identifies two distinct pathways out of the critical juncture. In the first pathway, municipal governments have gradually limited their capacity to implement local integration goals by replacing specialized integration units with indirect governance through steering documents. In the second pathway, municipal governments limited the scope of their activities while intensifying their focus on labour market activation as a means to compensate for diminishing state-level support. Rather than reflect differences between socioeconomic conditions, choices between the two pathways appear to follow the ideological allegiances of the municipal majorities. Whereas social democratic majorities tend toward the first pathway, conservative majorities favour the second pathway. Notably, the pathways begun in the immediate period following 2016 have remained in place in all municipalities despite subsequent changes in government composition.


This is a hybrid seminar, you are welcome to connect via Zoom
Meeting ID: 652 7563 3898

or join us in the MIM seminar room on floor 9 of Niagara.

To attend on campus, please gather by the Niagara ground floor reception area at 14.10. If you have any questions, contact