Brottslighet som politiskt konfliktområde

Från bråkiga arbetare till kriminella invandrare: samhällsfarliga i kriminalpolitisk debatt och brottslighetens politisering i Sverige under 200 år


  • Glenn Svedin


Crime as an area of political conflict. From unruly workers to criminal immigrants: threats to society in criminal policy debate and the 200-year politicisation of crime in Sweden

In recent years, crime has become one of the most discussed topics in Swedish politics and in public debate. However, the politicization of the area of crime, that so clearly can be viewed today, is not – as sometimes has been argued – a relatively new phenomenon in Sweden. Crime became a political area of conflict already in the early 1800s. This article discusses, through foucauldian lenses, the long lines behind the crime policy debate in Sweden. Focusing on contemporary dominant discourses, the article demonstrates that for 200 years, crime has been a politicized area. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the perceived dangerous groups have differed over time, from the rural working poor in the early 19th-century to immigrants in the early 21st-century. During the period, different crime prevention proposals have frequently returned, with irregular intervals. In the political arena today, various repressive solutions – most of them tried before in Swedish criminal justice history – are proposed once again in order to deal with the perceived high crime rates in the country.