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Christian Fernández, Associate Professor in Political Science at Malmö University.

Sweden’s reputation and self-image as a country of international solidarity and liberal universalism has been cultivated by Swedish governments for more than half a century, visible among other things in Sweden’s comparatively open and liberal approach to migration and refugees. Following the large inflow of refugees and asylum-seekers in the Fall of 2015, however, the Swedish government introduced a series of restrictions that call into question the liberal-universal ethos of Swedish immigration policy. The presentation draws on ongoing research of the public explanations and justifications, as well as contestations, of the (new) policy orientation. More specifically, the presentation examines how the political parties and mainstream newspapers address the so-called progressive dilemma in immigration policy; i.e. the tensions between numbers and rights, international and national solidarity, protection and integration, and so on. The proposed argument is that the refugee crisis has implied a return of the progressive dilemma in Swedish public discourse, albeit with important variations across the ideological spectrum. 

The seminar will be held in English and online. If you would like to listen to it, send an email to