Individualised care and universal welfare: dilemmas in an era of marketisation

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 31/01/2013
End date: 31/12/2015
Funding: 9000000 SEK


The aim of this programme is to investigate the challenges and possibilities of individualised eldercare services in relation to the universal ambitions of the Swedish welfare model, in the context of marketisation and increasing ethnic diversity and income inequality. Findings for Sweden will be contrasted to other Nordic countries, among which the level of marketisation varies, despite the shared universalist tradition, and Anglo-Saxon countries, where marketisation is highly developed.

Theoretically the programme is inspired by policy- and everyday life-oriented feminist research, disability studies, regulatory theory and historical institutionalism. Several research methods are combined in four interrelated streams of research: 1) policy analysis based on national documents; 2) ethnographic field studies of residential care based on participant observations and interviews with residents, family members, managers, care workers and needs assessors ; 3) a case study of homecare services also based on interviews and document analysis in the two biggest cities in Sweden (with very different approaches to marketisation); and 4) a survey of care workers in the Nordic countries followed by focus group interviews to help interpret and validate the survey results.

The programme’s research team represents four Nordic and three Anglo-Saxon countries and many disciplines, including social work, sociology, social policy, gender studies, anthropology, gerontology, economic history and political science. This rich disciplinary variety, in particular the combination of expertise in welfare theories, policy analysis and ethnographic care research from comparative and feminist perspectives, is crucial for achieving the programme’s aims. The entire team will collaborate throughout the research process: in formulating research questions, collecting and analysing data, and publishing.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:52