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Daniel Holm Inlägg

Institutional Theory in Political Science

On the first page of his book Institutional Theory in Political Science (2012),1 B. Guy Peters states that the “roots of political science are in the study of institutions”. Where political science has left the study of something so fundamental as institutions for rational choice and behaviouralism is a loss and therefore needs to be accommodated. This is where institutionalism comes in, which seeks to “[explain] the decisions that the governments make” be it their values, rules, incentives, “or the pattern of interactions if the individuals within them” (184). Commonly the “consider institutions the central component of political life” (Ibid.).

Now, presenting that there is a New institutionalism states that there first was an Old institutionalism,2 both which studies institutions and how they affect social and economic life. An institution, according to Peters, is a “structural feature of society and/or polity” (19), and is recognized by its: (1) predictability; (2) stability over time; (3) affect on individual behaviour, and; (4) sense of shared values between the members (Ibid.).

Old institutionalism focus on the formal institutions, meaning law and government,3 trying to “describe and understand the political world” (3). Previously scholars have asked questions that “tended to concern the nature of governing institutions that could structure the behaviour of individuals” (3). Initial study therefore focuses on the creation, and success, of institutions – how they where governed (Ibid.). This was, according to Peters, the ’beginning’ of political science. One could exemplify this theoretical approach by looking at the works of Aristotle and his fellows who observed the neighbouring city-states of ancient Greece, and comparing them.4 Hence, Old inst. Is more descriptive and comparative in how the formal institutions constitute law, government and political governance. For example, comparing presidential and parliamentary systems (1).

New institutionalism is a response to the behavioural revolution and seeks to be theoretical and explanatory, where Old was not; also criticizing Old for the comparison, which is not enough explanatory for differences, where norms, rules and path dependency is. Old has been criticized of being biased, since it does not see what’s outside of their own field of view – they are restricted to itself (14). It is dependent on the institution at hand.5 This also includes being able to study how institutions emerge. New inst. was created as an result for the behaviour and rational choice theories. While old inst focused on the institution more solo, new looked at it for how it affected it’s members, as well as other institutions. It looked at institutions more like an ecosystem of which society was constructed, or the result, of. But mostly it looks at the affect it has on it’s members – it theorized that institutions has a much greater effect than previously studied. This because of the wave of behaviouralism and rational choice theory, previously popular. It looks more closely on how institutions interact, affecting members and society. Hence New inst. Includes informal institutions where Old does not (4).6 Institutions are social constructions, therefore it also affects social behaviour in turn. Institutions shape the behaviour of its members, of agents. It does, however, do this in different ways depending on perspective of the institution.

Normative institutionalism7 argues that the rules and norms of an institution affects the behaviour of its members, or actors. These ‘guides’ the behaviour and actions of the actors. But such a guide will also let actors become constrained to the obligations of the norms and rules of the institution. Political values comes from the institution – such as the family, religion or work environment – and individual preferences are shaped by their involvement with institutions (25-27). As an example I would say Correctional departments (Kriminalvården). It is of major importance that they follow rules and act by their guides/manuals, acting appropriately towards the clients, not allowing anyone to act anyone differentially from another – the set of values to follow (43).

In contrast, Rational choice institutionalism assumes that the individual seeks to maximize one’s utility, rather than following the norms and rules on an institution.8 This is the primary motivation of joining institutions. It is a much more individualistic approach, with more distinct actors, from Normative, which argues that values are formed by the institution (48). However, the actors are still constrained by their institution membership, and they still will have to accept existing norms and rules – even before the formal entry. Behaviour is governed by a calculation of that maximizes utility and benefit. Actions and behaviour made in a situation is based on what is best for maximising utility. Examples would be bureaucratic organizations in government (55), or fishing collectives (Ostrom, 2005).

Historical institutionalism only looks backwards and is certainly the most descriptive of them all because of this. Only after the institution is created and exist, it can be described and understood such as is.9 The choices made during the initial construction phase sticks, and influences policy in the future (70). This is the concept of path dependency – that decisions stay and are hard to change (76); e.g. state constitutions and law. New institutional rules are often attempts to resolve problems that they in turn created (72) – e.g. trying to resolve old EU legislations with new directives, such as the Lisbon treaty (2007), amending the Maastricht treaty (1973), and the Treaty of Rome (1957). Instead these institutions are incremental adjusted – gradual change (80-81).

Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding Institutional Diversity. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
Peters, B. G. (2012). Institutional Theory In Political Science: The ‘New Institutionalism’ (3rd ed.). London: Continuum.

1All references of page numbers in parenthesis is to that page in Peters’ book, if not otherwise stated.

2The two approaches should be seen as “complementary rather than competitive explanations” (2).

3Also “the State”, says Peters, means a “[virtually] metaphysical entity which embodies the law and the institutions of government, et somehow also transcends those entities.” (6).

4Later, while referring to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and others, Peters presents them as the roots of political science and it’s study of ”analysis and design of institutions” (4).

5Going back to Aristotle and his students, one would argue that New would accommodate the preference of the observer is limited by the institutions the observer oneself is part of. Therefore New seeks to leave this normative approach behind as bias, and instead highlighting the importance of including the norms and rules of an institution.

6 Formal being the “formal aspects of government, including law” (4)

7Which is the root of New institutionalism and comes from a sociological tradition(Ibid.25f).

8Though this approach also oncludes the state and law and institutons that seek to maximize utility (47).

9Which also includes the difficulty of explaining change (77).

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Recover files from old system LUKS drive

So a few weeks ago – at my very first lecture for this semester – my precious laptop (Sony Vaio Pro 13) gave in. I was rather upset, I must admit. However I actually got myself another one – with twice as much RAM and disk space (pretending it’s the same, altough I love new tech).
Now, the Vaio Pro 13 uses M.2 SSD disks, so backing up the old drive, which I of course kept, needed a M.2 to SATA adapter. Also I already got a SATA to USB. And although I have rather sophisticated backup routine for my machines, there are still things that there, on the old system, that I want – like PPAs, config files and what not (I really need to start backing them up as well). Of course one could to a complete restoration of the system, but I do very much like to combine a backup restore with the feeling of a freshly installed system, hence I recover only what I want.
I plugged everything in. I’m using LUKS on all machines for better security so the passphrase promt showed up much to my appreciation, but. Error. Of course my heart rate rised. Trying a few times more; trying the disk utilty; on other computers; again in the new one. No change. Pop up the terminal to run the commands manual (I knew that it was /dev/sdb5 from error and disk utility):

$ sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdb5 encrypt_oldhome
$ mkdir oldhome
$ sudo mount /dev/mapper/encrypt_oldhome oldhome/
mount: unknown filesystem type ’LVM2_member’

And I though: ”What is this?”. I have the lvm2 package installed. Searching and found that it is due to the LVM groups of the old and new system having the very same name, which created the issue.[1]
So, of course one has to change that, but how? Well, using vgrename.[2]
Once again, in terminal, you run:

$ sudo vgdisplay

Here you locate the old LVM – and do be very sure about this so that you accidentally don’t rename the volume of currently running system. I made sure of this by looking at the size of the drives; my old one was 128GB and new is 256GB. Once located, you copy the ”VG UUID” and run this command:

$ sudo vgrename YOUR-VG-UUID ubuntu-vg-old

(”ubuntu-vg-old” is the new name, which the suffix ”old” is added from prevous ”ubuntu-vg”, which is Ubuntu’s default)
Now you are once again able to mount the old system by re-running the mount command, now without error:

$ sudo mount /dev/mapper/encrypt_oldhome oldhome/

So, in conclusion, the issue was that the new and old system’s volume group (LVM) had the same name. Solution was to change the name of the old drive’s LVM.
1: https://askubuntu.com/a/766141
2: http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/warning-duplicate-vg-name-server01-error/

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I huvudet, om huvudet.

Vi vacklar sällan när det kommer till tanken om tanken. Vi erkänner varandras minnen; vad vi talar om; vad vi hör. (Vi är sällan källkritiska.) Vi bygger vår vardag på motoriskt inlärda ritualer såsom att gå upp ur sängen och göra sig i ordning för en dag bland publik. Vi interagerar, vi funderar. Vi lär; vi lär ut. Men sällan när det väl kommer till vad som kulturellt har blivit så socialt accepterat att vi inte längre tänker på det, så förgås tanken och reduceras till något enskilt naturligt. Såsom ”biologiska skillnader”. Hur betydande dessa är – mellan kvinnor och män; mellan de med olika pigment – för vårt samhälle. De är, likt den sociala konventionen att torka sig efter toalettbesöket, eller att se på varandra vid interaktion, precis lika socialt konstruerade.
Vi föds alla lika och på samma sätt; vi dör alla lika och på samma sätt. När hjärnan, och dess tanke är död, så är människan död. Tillsammans med sexism och rasism, och andra fördomar.
Tänk på det.

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Det är okej.

Sitter och kollar igenom ett antal gamla dokument och texter nu denna lediga dag. Fann detta som jag är osäker på när jag skrev, men som jag ändock fortfarande känner detsamma inför; att säga att det är okej.

Ibland det vackraste, renaste, mest värmande och stödjande är att säga: ”det är okej”.
Allt behöver inte vara fullt uttänkt. Det är okej. Du får göra mindre bra val; du får göra bort dig; du får göra det som är roligare än vad det är bra.
Det är okej.

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Dagens kommando: apt-cacher

Igår släpptes Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus[0][1] och givetvis vad det dags för uppgradering. Då jag har flera maskiner som ska uppdateras så tänkte jag spara lite på bandbredden – dels för att minska påverkan på officiella spegelservrar men dels för att det är kul och att jag kan. Min laptop, min flickväns, min mors laptop (som har hängt med utan ominstallation sedan 11.10, vilket bara det är imponerande), farmor och farfars, mfl. står inför uppgradering av Ubuntu eftersom 16.04 är en LTS och verkar vara en riktigt bra sådan. Uppgraderingen hat gått bra – bättre än någonsin, skulle jag säga, och min laptop fungerade precis likadant som innan (bortsett från ownCloud-klienten vars indikator inte syns ännu, men det kommer antaligen att fixas snart). Det är en go Ubuntu-utgåva helt enkelt. Men det är inte det som jag ska tala om, utan hänvisar istället vidare för goa saker att göra efter installation[2] samt vad som är nytt[3][4].
Nej, istället tänkte jag tipsa om hur du, ifall du har flera maskiner att uppdatera, kan sätta upp en egen spegel (eller cache) så att du endast behöver ladda ner paketen en gång (från officiell spegelserver, alltså). Det hela är väldigt enkelt och du är klar på en kvart.
Vad du behöver är en maskin (alltså dator med Ubuntu – helst, men andra Debian-derivat eller Linuxdistar fungerar givetvis också, men med andra instruktioner för installation) som ska agera paketcache och sedan en eller flera andra maskiner att uppgradera. Jag kommer nedan att benämna denna maskin som server för enkelhetens skull och ”klient” till de som ska uppgraderas.


  1. Installera paketet apt-cacher samt webservern apache2
    sudo apt-get install apt-cacher apache2
  2. Aktivera apt-cacher genom att redigera filen /etc/default/apt-cacher och ändra så att det står ”AUTOSTART=1” (utan citationstecken)
  3. Starta om Apache:
    sudo service apache2 restart
  4. Redigera nu filen /etc/apt-cacher/apt-cacher.conf och se till att du har aktiverat:
    allowed_hosts = * (om du nu vill att alla ska kunna använda servern som cache)
    distinct_namespaces = 1 (för att cacha paket för alla Ubuntu-utgåvor)

    Och, kanske viktigast, för att tillåta uppgradering av senare Ubuntu-utgåvor behöver du lägga till denna rad (en modifiering av orginal regexp) [5]:

    installer_files_regexp = ^(?:vmlinuz|linux|initrd\.gz|changelog|NEWS.Debian|[a-z]+\.tar\.gz(?:\.gpg)?|UBUNTU_RELEASE_NAMES\.tar\.gz(?:\.gpg)?|(?:Devel|EOL)?ReleaseAnnouncement(?:\.html)?|meta-release(?:-lts)?(?:-(?:development|proposed))?)$
  5. Starta nu om apt-cacher:
    sudo service apt-cacher restart
  6. Öppna nu en webbläsare och gå till http://server:3142 (med ”server” menas serverns IP eller hostname). Obs! Är serverns paket av äldre modell så kanske inte denna adress fungerar och du får istället använda dig av: http://server:3142/apt-cacher eller http://server/apt-cacher
  7. Högst upp på sidan står nu hur du kan gå tillväga gör att lägga till denna cache på din dator, så vi går vidare till detta.


  1. Skapa och redigera filen /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01proxy
    sudo nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01proxy
    sudo gedit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01proxy
  2. Lägg till denna raden för att sedan spara och stänga: (”server” är återigen serverns IP eller hostname)
    Acquire::http::Proxy "http://server:3142";
  3. Kör sedan en uppdatering av paketlistor – förhoppningsvis fungerar allt som det ska:
    sudo apt-get update
  4. Klart! Ifall det nu är uppgradera Ubuntu du vill göra så kör du:
    sudo do-release-upgrade -d (för uppgradering i terminal, till exempel för servrar)
    sudo upgrade-manager -d (för grafisk uppgradering)

Vill du sedan inte använda servern som cache längre så tar du helt enkelt bort filen /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01proxy


0: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus is released!
1: Release Notes
2: 16 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
3: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS New Features
4: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Available For Download, See What`s New
5: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Apt-Cacher-Server
För mer om apt-cacher: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Apt-Cacher-Server

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Politiska resurser: En kvalitativ studie av Centerpartiets och Socialdemokraternas natursyn.

Jag har precis avslutat en statsvetenskaplig kurs vid Luleå tekniska högskola och tänkte dela med mig av min avslutande (fördjupnings)uppgift. Kursen har haft ett särskilt fokus på storskaliga kollektiva problem och innehållit mycket begrepp gällande miljö och politisk styrning, samt legitimitet. Det har onekligen varit en spännande kurs och jag har haft stor nytta för de teoretiska begrepp som jag fått återupptäcka, och nu återanvända i min magisteruppsats i statsvetenskap.
I denna uppgift använder jag mig av de två begreppen antropocentrism och ekocentrism – vilka är två extrempunkter på en flytande skala av natursyn – och där gjort en kvalitativ innehållsanalys av Centerpartiet och Socialdemokraterna och hur de förhåller sig till detta.
Trevlig läsning 🙂
Politiska resurser: En kvalitativ studie av Centerpartiets och Socialdemokraternas natursyn.

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Häxjakt på kvinnliga toppolitiker.

I våras satt jag på ett fik i Västervik och läste boken Makt; en kortfattad, väldigt innehållsrik och bra bok om den sociala makten som vi alla finner oss under – medvetet såväl som omedvetet – av Börjesson & Rhen (2009). I samband med det kom nyheten att Annie Lööf skulle bli mamma, följt av en debatt om kvinnor och graviditet – kvinnor i maktpositioner, eller snarare en indirekt kritik av detta.
Jag deltog i debatten i form av ett kort inlägg där jag skrev att människor, oj fel, kvinnor fortfarande blir marginaliserade när det kommer till att vara just människor.[1]  Att det minsann inte ska glömmas bort att även om en kvinna också har en topposition i någon typ av organisation eller institution, så är hon fortfarande en kvinna. För att åter citera Börjesson & Rhen (s. 35): ”en kvinna med makt behandlas i media alltid som just en kvinna med makt” (s. 35).
Att debatter uppstår, åsikter dyker upp, i form av och angående att kvinnor föder barn – och då går det ju inte att vara, till exempel, politiker, säger patriarkatet. Det är inte en modern, human eller i närheten av en jämställd bild vi bör ha i vårt samhälle 2016.
Detta händer just nu i media igen. Margot Wallström och hennes hyresavtal med Kommunal. En kvinna i en maktposition som ska bli påmind att hon är kvinna, och att vi läsare blir påminda om att hon är en kvinna.
Missförstå mig nu inte; det är definitivt medias roll att agera medlare och informatör mellan medborgaren och det politiska styret – det är deras ansvar och funktion. Dock vill jag även påpeka hur media även, i samma ansvarsområde, också måste överväga sin egna position i det hela.
Låt oss, för enkelhetens skull, ta ett steg ifrån huruvida detta hyresavtal är en faktisk muta eller ej; om det är ett enda stort missförstånd eller ej, och istället se på det för vad det är: en häxjakt. En häxjakt på kvinnor i maktpositioner. Kvinnliga toppolitiker.
Det handlar återigen om samhällets strukturella makt som nu kastar sig över en kvinnlig toppolitiker som, oavsett sanningen i allt, och vilken sida som innehar sanningen, halkat lite. Hon är ett öppet mål nu, och media inser inte själva hur de går patriarkatets ärende.
Idag fortsätter skandalen med Wallströms ”hemliga” lön på Postkodlotteriet – något som var aktuellt innan detta, så varför ska det tas upp nu igen?[3] Häxjakt.
Skandaler blir skandaler när media tar upp det och det fångas av publiken – oss medborgare. Vi läsare får inte tillåta oss att bli matade av vad som helst och istället ställa krav på media. Media måste se på min position i det hela.
Istället för att skriva mer om den politiska och diplomatiska relationen mellan Israel och Sverige, som på alla sätt är högaktuell och av vikt, så läggs fokus på hur en kvinnlig toppolitiker kan ha gjort något dumt. Sker det på samma sätt med manliga toppolitiker?
Alliansfritt Sverige publicerade ett inlägg med ett antal moderata toppolitiker som själva stått i blåsväder över besynnerliga lägenhetsaffärer i Stockholm.[2] Något jag inte minns att jag kan ha läst om eller som har blossat upp som detta. Det kan ju också bero på att det i fyra fall av fem, var manliga toppolitiker.
Nej, det är ännu en häxjakt efter kvinnor i maktpositioner. Vi behöver inte leta länge: Annie Lööf, som sagt; Ebba Busch Thor, när även hon blivit mamma; Maud Olofsson och Nuon; den uppenbara med Mona Sahlin, Tobleroneaffären, 1995. Det händer än idag – det ska påminnas om att de är kvinnor bara för att de är. Men när läser vi om när manliga politiker blir pappa? Varför tystnar skandaler om män mycket snabbare? För att återigen citera Börjesson & Rhen, samma sida som ovan: ”En man i media behandlas som en normal företeelse”.
Att ett hyresavtal kan skapa så mycket uppståndelse.
1: http://www.danielholm.se/kvinna-med-makt-ar-en-kvinna-med-makt/
2: https://alliansfritt.nu/nyheter/sten-i-glashus
3: http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article19800929.ab

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Se på stjärnorna

När jag ser på himlen. Stjärnhimlen. Jag blir alltid så fascinerad. Något överväldigad. Ödmjuk.
Här finns vi. Vår jord. Vi djur som vandrar, flyger eller simmar här på den.
Allt från en cell, för att sedan existera här och nu efter miljarder år av evolution.
Vi är alla gjorda av sjärnstoft. Det som en gång var en stjärna som brann – kanske för kort – för att sedan explodera; skapa de ämnen som vi alla består utav. Stjärnor, likt de på natthimlen.
Vi är blott en stjärna på någon annans stjärnhimmel.

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Survey: Men playing a female character. A short look at the results.

Yesterday I created a short survey and published it on several subredits, and as comments, on Reddit. The immediate response was huge with 10 respondents the first minute; over 200 the first hour and over 4000 in 12 hours. I could not be happier.
I’ve got a number of comments from women complaining that there’s no option for them to answer why they play a female character, as have I got a number of comments from men saying pretty much the same but for when they play a male character. I will give a response to this below, but in short: I am only interested in why men play using a female character.
The idea of this study came when I was out bowling with a few friends. While talking about RPGs, and D&D, my friend said something that I’ve been quite curious about before: He likes to play a female character. There is, of course, no error in doing so – not any choice of course (this as a response to men obviously feeling judged by this survey, and I will respond to that as well), but I want to know Why this choice? Why does this create a difference, a variance, in game play for male.
I set out to create some hypothesis that I’d then would try to falsificate. These hypothesis would need to be short, concise and easy to falsificate.
Some would say that the choice is at random, or no big deal. I would say that they are wrong and that this choice is founded on something. And I want to find out why. Why is there a difference between playing with a male and a female character?
Now the method. I’ve created a survey and published it on some subreddits at Reddit and on Twitter. These survey answers would need to be complement by interviews for a discourse analysis.
The survey was design to let female participate and letting them respond to how whether or not they play as male or female, but then not being able to respond to anything else. This because I am not interested in women’s choice of sex, but still want an idea of the percentage of female respondents. So the first question was if the respondent is male, female or other. Other being designed just as female, and for both of them the survey end after that initial page.
On the next page respondents that said that they were men, could check a multitude of alternatives of why they play as female. These alternatives were inspired by comments from previous threads, as well as being constructed by me. I also added a box for them to add their own alternative, if missing, and also a text box for them to comment, in their own words, why they play with a female character.
The last page was control questions and some more info. The first being if they consider themselves being feminist. This due to Reddit, among others, being flooded with ideas that feminism is something evil. This being controlled by the question whether or not they would say that men and women are equals. Now, this question could create some confusion – some understanding it as ”Are men an women equal in today’s society” or ”Men and women should be considered equals”. To try to overcome this issue, not at all perfectly, but ever so slightly, I added a text box for them to comment on that.
I choose age as an open text field question so that I can create any kind of age group later in SPSS/PSPP (and sort out any non-integer). And the same goes for education level, where I did not want to leave some level out, and seen as they differ around the globe and not all swedes, for example, knowing that the Gymnasie is called ”upper secondary”, I could conclude that the same goes for everyone. Using digital tools, these answers can later be grouped if necessary.
Now for the results. 4096 people responded to my survey. (I love numbers like that)
3733 of these were men (91.1%), 322 woman (7.9%), and 41 (1%) responded as ’Other’
Of these 497 (10.4%) stated that they always played as female; and 1078 (26.3%) Never plays as a female.
Male being the most played sex, with 2713 (66.2%) responses and 1383 (33.8%) female.
5.1%, or 456 people use just one character when playing RPGs. 66% got more than one, but uses one mainly, and 18.9% uses more than one, but in an equal matter.
Not diving to deep into the Why play as female- alternatives, the most chosen alternatives is ”For variety” – 1522 responses (50.6%); Stuff in the game might differ – 1153 (38.4%); Rather be looking at a women – 1267 (42.1%).
When asked if the player feels most badass, while playing a male or a female, a total of 1844 responses (61.1%) said that it is the same for both.
71.2% does not consider themselves as feminist, but 81.4% state that women and men are equal.
In conclusion, the data does show some indications in relation to quite a few of my hypothesis. I does not however, end here. To begin with, this was just a pilot study and I’ve gotten a lot of comments, some helpful, of how to make the next, and real, one better. That being said, it is not a promise that there will be a new survey later on, but I might very well start with the interviews. I am unsure if this will become my master thesis, or if I’m just going to work on this outside of my thesis – or at all.
I have a LOT of comments to go trough, before I know anything for certain.
The survey is closed and I got over 4000 answers, and I could not be happier. Also I got 40 persons willing to be interviewed.
I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your participation.
EDIT: After I downloaded all the data, I changed the questions just to let people answer if they are male or female, or if they play using a male or female character.

To the survey!

Skärmdump 2015-11-06, 11.04.43

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Symbolic classification, social constructions and asylum.

Symbolic classification is for example the political party pin on your jacket – a link to your own group. This symbolic classification doesn’t have to be political, or ideological, but something that unites a group – a “society”. However, it could be a political view or ideology, which results – as a group – in difference in moral and norms. Even if, or although, we live in a rather homogenic society, we might have some differences in the moral fibre between us. Therefore, just as Jacobsson & Löfmarck describes as an example, individual might have an different view of the depth on a transgression – if it even is considered to be a transgression from one perspective and not the other – like not paying your TV fee.

As Jacobsson & Löfmarck states, we are not “aware of our social constructions unless we go against the stream” (Jacobsson & Löfmarck, 2008, p. 206). Symbolic classification is of course not an exception of being socially constructed. Ideological views, such as either left or right extremism is a classification that makes you go “against the stream” and likely make you break – at least some – rules of conduct. For example, in Sweden we are rather social democratic with a large base of voters directly linked to that party, but also even the (center-)right wing is much more social democratic compared to what the right could look like, or base one’s ideology on in other countries, such as Denmark, the UK or the USA. The centre-left, or Social Democratic Party in Sweden might wasn’t a much higher tax rate then it’s substitutes in other national states in the west, and so does the centre-right, Moderate party compared to it’s international siblings. Evident of the Swedish right parties being much more central right (except the Sweden Democrats).

For example, we might see this being concretized currently in Sweden if we take a look on the immigration debate, or debate about asylum.1 Both the Social Democratic Party and the Moderate Party are deepening it’s politics regarding seekers of asylum – the number or immigrants in Sweden. They are both trying to get the upper hand of this crisis situation. Maybe not by the same means, but still as considering that more people are welcome and that we as, a nation, need to help out more. Now, this is still compared to other countries – at least that is the theoretical fundament, or hypothesis. But why is that? By drawing on Alexander and Jacobsson & Löfmarck this could be analyzed, or discussed, from the moral of a society. In Sweden we are more liberal and equal – both when it comes to gender and ethnicity – far from enough, and we still have a long way to go, though. We are very secular, the racism is decreasing and women are increasingly looked at as equals socially and economically. We, as a society have a common moral ground, which we use to look at the rest of the world with and here is a situation where we can, and will help with. Media, as a moral mirror, shows us pictures and informs us about the crisis of immigration in Syria and other areas every day. Concerts are held in support of raising money that will be used to help those in need. Houses are built, or existing reused, to house newly arrived immigrants – which comes in the thousands a day in Sweden. Why? Because, to use Durkheim, the freedom of one’s self, of ones body and the right for welfare and social security is sacred to us. Equality is close to our hearts.

However, as I stated above, the How we help, more specifically is still up for consideration. The Moderate party is looking at a more time limited asylum for newly arrived immigrants, while the Social Democratic Party, does not. Some say “help them ’at home’” and don’t let so many come here, while others say Welcome, and that is not working to send aid to Syria, but maybe instead to the borders of the countries that are hit the “worst” during this crisis. This is an example of the symbolic classification based on the ideological fundament of individuals – just as how high the tax rate should be, they considerer how to help, and how many to help here, at “home”.

If this all would be true, we could analyze that by using, for example, quantitative interviews, and polls. By stating which political view, political party leaning and view on for example taxes rate and standpoint in seekers of asylum we could watch the moral differences even in our society. This could also been looked at based on the media, and how they present the politics of the Swedish political parties. How the text focuses and therefore a text analysis – since the media is the mirror of the common conscience.

While the Social Democratic Party, or even the Red-green government, as well as the Moderate Party and some other in the Liberal Right political Alliance, is looked at – not completely without critique, but still more normalized and common for our moral base and norms, parties like the Sweden Democrats, are looked at with unease – that the politics that they are proclaiming is profane and unaccepted by the majority of the Swedish citizens. That this is a clash of moral – and a “swim again the stream” – at least in the media. While, at the same time, the media also shows, pr presents, results form polls showing that the Sweden Democrats are gaining followers, or sympathizers.

This could be seen as a threat to the “center”, as Alexander states it, which results in a social control mechanism – a “sanction”, as Jacobsson & Löfmarck might have put it. And also, since there are some many emotions following this crisis, that’s why it becomes so big – due to the transgression against the trend, which right now is to help, while the Sweden Democrats are unwilling to do so.


Alexander, J. (2003). Watergate as Democratic Ritual. In The Meanings of Social Life: A cultural Sociology. (pp. 155-177). Oxford: OUP.

Jacobsson, K. & Löfmarck, E. (2008). A Sociology of Scandal and Moral Transgression: The Swedish “Nannygate” Scandal, Acta Sociologica, 51(3), 203-216.

1This might also be relevant for many other countries in the EU today, since it’s member state has reached an agreement about accepting many more seeks of asylum – although How is still up for debate.

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