WORKING HARD TO INTEGRATE: THE ROLE OF GENDER IN INTEGRATION DISCOURSE
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The growing focus on individual responsibility in the neo-liberal welfare state has made issues of
employability a focus of policy debates. In this chapter the consequences of this discourse in relation to ethnic
minorities in Sweden is studied from an intersectional perspective. The widespread discourse on the
responsibility of migrants to become normal - to integrate themselves into Swedish society by becoming
employable, fluent in the Swedish language and observant of Swedish cultural norms - is discussed. It is
argued here that since minorities are often considered to represent their whole ethnic group, individual
responsibility to become integrated is transformed into a responsibility to integrate one’s whole group. It is
concluded that the paradoxes of multiculturalism are discursively resolved by awarding responsibility for
integration to individual immigrants and in that way making a group with relatively little power responsible
for their own subordination.
gender, racialization, racism, integration discourse, the Folkhem, masculinity, individualization, neoliberalism,
normalization, welfare state transformation.
Department of Social Sciences, Mid Sweden University, 851 70 Sundsvall, Sweden.