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The role of civil society in supporting migrants´ labour market participation in diverse areas: A comparative study of Sweden and the United Kingdom

Research project
Active research
Project size
3 530 000
Project period
2019 - 2021
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Forte: The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Short description

The role of civil society is increasingly recognised in supporting residents of diverse neighbourhoods in accessing local labour markets. This project focuses on disadvantaged groups in the labour market and explores the role of civil society in supporting their access to employment. We focus on groups of migrant descent, whose labour market participation falls considerably below native populations.

This project investigates the mechanisms and the conditions under which civil society initiatives support labour market participation in diverse neighbourhoods in Sweden and the UK. Central mechanisms may refer to different modes of organisation, and conditions to national and local socio-economic contexts.

We expect to find variations in ways civil society plays out locally as a result of the different emphasis placed upon its role in Sweden and the UK. These two countries are markedly different in this respect. Increasingly, however, civil society is assuming an important role as a welfare provider in both countries.

The little work undertaken on civil society and its role in supporting employment is unfortunate in view of existing disadvantages. So far, research has focused on registered formal organisations that only constitute one part of a larger civil society. Thus, a comparative focus on both formal and informal initiatives in Sweden and the UK will help capture how different types of CSOs support labour market participation and how their modes of operation are shaped by national frameworks and local contexts.

The project applies a mixed method design that allows for the analysis of the density of registered CSOs and compares this with actual civil society activities in the field, both formal and informal. We also explore the role and potential of different types of activities. This approach aims to contribute towards a more comprehensive understanding of civil society’s potential for improving access to labour market for those with migrant descent.


Project leader

Gabriella Elgenius, Associate Professor, UoG, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Email:


Project members
Magda Borkowska, PhD, University of Essex
Juta Kawalerowicz, PhD, University of Linköping
Professor Jenny Phillimore, University of Birmingham