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Parenting and mobility in the EU: constructing dependency and civic stratification through the EU family benefits in Sweden

Conference contribution
Authors Oksana Shmulyar Gréen
Charlotte Melander
Published in Troubling Times for Europe? Families, Migration and Politics Conference. Krakow, Poland: 3-4 June 2016
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Department of Social Work
Language en
Keywords Swedish Welfare, EU mobility, parental rights, family benefits
Subject categories Sociology


Post-enlargement EU labour migration has increasingly moved to the centre of research and public debates in the EU member states. Policy approachePost- enlargement EU labour migration has increasingly moved to the centre of research and public debates in the EU member states. Policy approaches to free movement of individuals within the EU give their primacy to paid work and economic benefits of mobility, while neglecting to consider the added challenges that migration poses to migrants with family obligations. This article seeks to investigate how the Swedish welfare state determines parental rights of the migrant EU nationals through the implementation of the EU family benefits. Sweden is an interesting example of a state that has simultaneously an open-door policy towards labour mobility and it stands out for its liberal family provision schemes compared to other EU countries. The object of the analy sis is on how transnational parenting across the EU borders, is institutionalized and articulated in the Swedish national policies on family provisions and residence rights. Drawing on Bacchi’s analytical approach to policy as a discourse, a core issue of the analysis is how labour migrants who are parents become subjects of the policies that impose constrains on who are considered to be members of ‘the migrant family’ and its eligibility for social support. The article argues that in contrast to the Swedish welfare ideology, partners and children of the working migrants are treated as their direct “dependents” and are entitled to family provisions only as dependent family members and not as autonomous individuals. The emphasis on dependency carries with it further challenges for migrant families, whose civic rights are conditional and highly stratified according to the working migrant residence and employment statuses in Sweden

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