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Normalization and outsiderhood: Feminist Readings of a Neoliberal Welfare State
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences. (Challenging Normalization Processes)
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities. (Challenging Normalization Processes)
Lunds Universitet. (Challenging Normalization Processes)
2011 (English)Collection (editor) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This volume presents an illuminating analysis of the ways in which normalization processes and practices operate in a welfare state in an age of neoliberalism. This informative book problematize the meaning of the phrase ‘normalization processes and practices’, that for an Anglophone audience may smacks of functionalism. The historical context of the adoption of normalization processes and practices in Sweden in the post-World War II era was, in the first instance, an expression of the inclusivity designed to decrease inequalities and to achieve social justice. However all the contributors to this volume, show very clearly how notions of normalcy, of normalization, in a neoliberal time operate not only to create an integrating and equalizing context but also, and much more critically, how these processes and practices serve to exclude certain groups of people, and produce a structural inequality that in recent years has been discussed under the term of ‘utanförskap’ or outsiderhood. Critiquing these interventions, the contributors to this volume show how diverse groups of people - immigrants, families considered ‘at risk’ by social services, pregnant women, young girls – are variously the objects of context-specific normalization processes and practices that make any resistance to such interventions difficult, if not impossible. What people ‘normally do’, cloaks that ‘normal doing’ into a fog of invisibilization that suffocates any form of protest. Normalization thus takes on specific forms of repression in particular circumstances, for instance through the ethnocentric imposition of norms of behaviour on migrants where that ethnocentricity is neither made evident nor acknowledged. This system of normalization also operates in schools, resulting in the reproduction of inequalities and discrimination from an early age. In such normalization processes ‘the normal’ or ‘the usual’ becomes a means for re-interpreting structural inequalities in terms of individual choice, and for displacing the responsibilities for change onto those positioned as outsiders. Worryingly, the individual chapters highlight how the operations of normalizing processes work to obscure their functioning, thus making any critique of both the underlying assumptions and their operationalization almost impossible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
UAE: Bentham eBooks, 2011.
Series
Book series: Rethinking research and professional practices in terms of relationality, subjectivity and power, ISSN 2210-2833
Keyword [en]
normalization; gender; welfare institutions, neoliberal shift, the Nordic welfare model, outsiderhood, welfare state
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14904ISBN: 978-1-60805-279-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-14904DiVA: diva2:459295
Projects
Challenging gender
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-25 Last updated: 2015-06-18Bibliographically approved

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