State and Civil Society in Northern Europe: The Swedish Model Reconsidered (BOK)
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In the current neo-liberal political and economic climate, it is often suggested that a large and strong state stands in opposition to an autonomous and vibrant civil society. However, the simultaneous presence in Sweden of both a famously large public sector and an unusually vital civil society poses an interesting and important theoretical challenge to these views with serious political and policy implications. Studies show that in a comparative context Sweden scores very highly when it comes to the strength and vitality of its civil society as well as social capital, as measured in terms of trust, lack of corruption, and membership of voluntary associations. The "Swedish Model," therefore, offers important insights into the dynamics of state and civil society relations, which go against current trends of undermining the importance of the welfare state, and presents autonomous civic participation as the only way forward.