Issues of welfare entitlements and “deservedness” are increasingly permeating political debates in present-day Scandinavian welfare states, which are worldwide renowned for their comprehensive safety net. The Somalis especially, are oftentimes singled out in political debates about immigration and integration policies as the “least integrated” group in the entire region, or as a “burden” for public finances. Against this background, this study emphasizes that issues of welfare and security exist also among the Somali diaspora in Scandinavia, although they have attracted considerably less attention. Therefore, I explore constructions as well as negotiations of the safety net, reflecting on the encounter between the Somali society, which is definable to a good extent as stateless, and the countries of the so-called Nordic model, which display conversely a crucial component of both “statism” and nationalism in their social security arrangements. In this manner, this study intends to account for historical patterns of integration from the specific point of view of welfare and security. In order to pursue this aim, I have conducted qualitative interviews with Somalis living in Scandinavia about themes where matters of welfare and security emerge: the qualitative approach allowed me to underline the variety of experiences and solutions adopted by my interlocutors to re-construct a meaningful safety net. The study concludes that the Somalis are experiencing relevant changes in the way they think and formulate expectations about the safety net, often embracing elements of both welfare systems; at the same time, not all of the integration measures set up by Scandinavian states are conducive for alleviating Somalis’ security issues, especially in the immediate time after the resettlement. This dynamic can open up for considerably degrees of insecurity and thus long-term social vulnerability among the Somalis.
Ph.D. afhandling, Roskilde Universitet, 2017
Forsvaret finder sted d. 12. juni, 2017