This week, I was invited by Prof. Dr Nils Bandelow, Chair of Comparative Politics and Public Policy (CoPPP), to give a guest lecture on the political system of Sweden. Drawing on my own research, in which I studied the Swedish case in depth in two case studies as part of my Ph.D.-project (on fiscal adjustments) and the most recent study on law and order politics, I introduced the students to the ins and outs of the political system and the famous Swedish welfare state model.
Besides explaining the main foundations, such as the electoral and the party system as well as the legislative process, I also discussed the more recent changes in Swedish politics due to the increased seat shares held by the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. In fact, the long process of government formation after the last general election resulting in a breakdown of the bourgeois alliance not only illustrates the current state of affairs in Swedish politics very nicely, but it also serves an example of how minority governments work in Sweden. In the lecture, I also discussed the often shared image of Sweden as “model pupil” and how this image has become increasingly questioned in recent years.
Guessing from the active participation of the students, I think that my lecture has not only delivered some information on the Swedish system, but can also serve as a starting point for critically rethinking the myth and reality of Swedish exceptionalism. I was very happy to be in Braunschweig, to chat with dear colleagues and to share my thoughts with staff of the CoPPP-Chair as well as the students.
Photo: Johanna Hornung