Samhällskontrakt som politiskt vapen

En analys av mediedebatt och riksdagsmotioner 2000–2020


  • Christian Ståhl


The social contract as a political weapon: an analysis of Swedish media debates and parliamentary motions 2000-2020

This article analyses the use of the concept of social contracts in Swedish political debate. The material consists of 1287 articles published in twelve Swedish newspapers from 2000 to 2020, and 124 parliamentary motions, analyzed through quantitative and qualitative content analysis. The results show that the use of the concept increased significantly during the period, with a peak in 2018, an election year. The concept can be used to almost any political end, supporting parties’ traditional ideological positions, but the increased use follows a general increase in political focus on crime and immigration. Conservatives use the concept to argue for tougher policies toward criminals, lower taxes, and a stricter welfare system, while social democrats argue for more focus on the welfare state and building a stronger sense of community. It is concluded that the social contract is a relatively neutral political weapon that can be used with different ideological ammunition.