Crime as an Area of Political Conflict: The Politicization of "Law and Order" in Swedish Parliamentary Election Campaigns during the 21th-Century.

Glenn Svedin, Mid Sweden University

In recent years, crime has become one of the most discussed topics in Swedish politics and in public debate. However, the politicization of the issue of "law and order" in Swedish parliamentary campaigns and elections has increased continuously during the 2000s. This paper analyses the criminal debate and the crime prevention proposals in the election campaigns from 2002 to 2022. It is demonstrated that the politicization of crime increased during the 21th-century, and especially in the elections of 2014 and 2018, in conjunction with the so-called “refugee wave”. Prior to the 2018 elections, the parliamentary parties painted a largely coherent picture. They, apart from perhaps the Green Party and the Socialist Party, agreed on the need for more police officers, harder punishments and tougher action against the criminal suburban gangs. However, during the 2000s, all the eight different parliamentary parties, from the far left to the far right, have tried to gain votes by being “tough on crime”, but they have often chosen to highlight different perceived dangers. Besides criminal immigrants and terrorists also, for instance, partner violence, sex offences, drug users, outlaw motorcycle clubs and youth robbers have gained much attention. The upcoming 2022 elections seems largely to be about law and order" and “crimmigration”.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 112. Law and order: rhetorics, narratives and social construction