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The Persuasive Reform Bureaucracy:

On Activating Inspectors, Active Labour Market Policy and Women’s Participation in the Labour Market
The project was financed by The Swedish Research Council, 2011-2013

This research project investigates the importance of the Swedish reform bureaucracy in the making of new gender and family relations, with special emphasis on the roles played by civil servants. The civil servants included in this project were all employed as “Activating inspectors” by the National Labour Market Board (AMS) and local employment agencies across the country between 1966 and 1985.

Their main purpose was initially to enlighten, guide and influence women who did not have gainful employment to take on paid work, thereby contributing to the emergence of the dual earner – dual carer family model. Central to this project has thus been the role of the Activating Inspector as an important group in the implementation of active labour market policies, full employment and gender equality.

The main aim of the research project is two-folded. First, the capacity of the reform bureaucracy in the making of new family and gender relations are analysed. Second, the roles, purposes and conditions among the activating inspectors are mapped and further explored. The overarching ambition is to further the understanding of the reform bureaucracy as an important driving force in the early establishment of the dual earner – dual carer family model in Sweden.

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Researchers on the project

Åsa Lundqvist, Principal Investigator

Publications and output presentations:

  • Lundqvist, Å. (kommande 2015) Aktiveringsinspektörerna. Om svensk reformbyråkrati, den aktiva arbetsmarknadspolitiken och kvinnors utträde på arbetsmarknaden
  • Lundqvist, Å. (2014) ”Activating Women in the Swedish Model”, Social Politics
  • doi:10.1093/sp/jxu025
  • Lundqvist, Å. (2013) ”Att reformera välfärdsstaten – ett historiskt perspektiv på den aktiva arbetsmarknadspolitiken och kvinnors förvärvsarbete” in De första 100 åren – svensk välfärdspolitik mellan historia och framtid. Socialförsäkringsrapport 2013:4. Stockholm: Försäkringskassan.
  • Lundqvist, Å. (2012) ”The Gender Equal Father? (Welfare) Politics of Masculinity and Activation Policies in Sweden, 1960-2010”, in E. Jeanes and P. McDonald (red.) Men's wage and family work. London: Routledge.
  • Peer-review proceedings article: Lundqvist, Å. State Feminism and Active Labour Market Policies in Post-War Sweden, Revisioning Gender. Complex Inequalities and Global Dimensions, Stockholms universitet, Stockholm. 13-15 juni 2014
  • Presentation: ”Att reformera välfärdsstaten – ett historiskt perspektiv”, January 16, 2013. I was invited to present the project at conference organized by Försäkringskassan, Pensionsmyndigheten and FAS (De första 100 åren – svensk välfärdspolitik mellan historia och framtid). The talk was broadcasted in SVT (please see:
  • The project was also presented at Vetenskapsradion, Vetandets värld, January 23 2015 and on Forskarliv, January 18, 2015. Please see: Vetandets värld: Hemmafru byter yrke and Forskarliv: Hon skriver bok om en bortglömd yrkesgrupp

Department of Sociology
Lund University
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Faculty of Social Sciences