Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

A New Service Class in the Public Sector? The Role of Femonationalism in Unemployment Policies

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Abstract:  This article aims to explore the content embedded in the figuration of ‘foreign-born unemployed women’ and how discourses of gender equality are used to create an emerging racialised service class within the Swedish public sector. Influenced by the concept of femonationalism, the article explores how the introduction of the Extra Services unemployment reforms facilitates the creation of a service class whose purpose is to make it possible for the regular workforce to continue to function despite cutbacks and the neoliberal management of professional care work in the public sector. The study identifies a shift in the discourse, where, while migrant women continue to be represented as victims in public discourses concerning unemployment, they are also represented as being lazy and unwilling to work, qualities that legitimate the need for more repressive interventions towards the group, often described as feminist interventions that will rescue migrant women and their children.

Keywords:  femonationalim; gender equality; labour market; migrant women; unemployment; Sweden



© Paula Mulinari. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.