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Social Policy and CitizenshipThe Changing Landscape$
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Adalbert Evers and Anne-Marie Guillemard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199754045

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754045.001.0001

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The Iron Law of Rights: Citizenship and Individual Empowerment in Modern Sweden

The Iron Law of Rights: Citizenship and Individual Empowerment in Modern Sweden

(p.222) 10 The Iron Law of Rights: Citizenship and Individual Empowerment in Modern Sweden
Social Policy and Citizenship

Lars Trägårdh

Lars Svedberg

Oxford University Press

The empirical aim of the chapter concerns the relationship between individual and state in Sweden as it is expressed in social policy, i.e. the domain where social citizenship and social rights find concrete expression. Focus is on few policy areas that illuminate fundamental questions of power in the relations between state and individual: children’s rights, the rights of the disabled, compulsive care of substance abusers and HIV positive individuals, and healthcare in general. At the theoretical level the chapter engages Marshall’s observations concerning citizenship and rights, as well as Isaiah Berlin’s classic distinction between positive and negative liberty. It concludes by posing an “iron law of rights” according to which the advancement of collective social rights necessarily entails a corresponding loss of individual legal rights.

Keywords:   social rights, individual rights, civil rights, children’s rights, disability rights, compulsive care, rights in healthcare, empowerment, positive freedom, negative freedom

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