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Power and democratic accountability in strategic coordination bodies - An investigation from Swedish eldercare

Conference contribution
Authors Staffan Johansson
Stefan Szücs
Andreas Liljegren
Published in Nordic Political Science Association (NOPSA) XVIII Congress. University of Southern Denmark, Odense: 8-11 August 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Social Work
Language en
Subject categories Public Administration Studies


The establishment of strategic coordination bodies with members from differernt agencies, belonging to different principals, and are governed by various laws and regulations, can be understood as an answer to the demand for improved coordinated care around citizens with complex needs, e.g frail elderly people. This demand is also an example of the development ‘from government to governance’, but raises important fundamental questions of democratic control and accountability in the modern welfare state. These issues are addressed in current literature on network governance, but are not investigated very much empirically. The overall aim of the paper is to analyze collaboration bodies as a phenomenon in the modern welfare state. The specific aim is to investigate how the members of these governance networks perceive power and accountability, and are held accountable by their principals. The paper is conceptually built on theories of network governance and accountability. The empirical investigation is based on a survey with 981 respondents in 73 different coordination bodies in Sweden. The analysis shows that there seems to be an imbalance between perceived power and perceived demands from different stakeholders to account for the services. It opens up for a discussion of the meaning of the post-liberal state, and new perspectives on accountability and power in the modern welfare state.

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