Sweden/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies

Social cohesion is defined by the Council of Europe as ”the capacity of a society to ensure the welfare of all its members, minimising disparities and avoiding polarisation. A cohes­ive society is a mutually supportive community of free individuals pursuing these common goals by democratic means“. The goal of modern Swedish cultural policy is to increase access to culture for everyone living in Sweden, both through access to culture of high quality and by enabling more people to practice cultural and artistic activities. Hence, participation and social cohesion can be considered to be at the very core of Swedish cultural policy.

Objectives of the integration policy (referring to all parts of the administration) are equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for everyone, irrespective of ethnic and cultural background; social cohesion built on diversity; social development characterised by mutual respect, irrespective of background, (should participate and share a sense of community). Ethnic and cultural diversity is the point of departure for shaping general policies in all sectors and at all levels of society. High priority is, in many policy documents, given to addressing segregation in Swedish society, as well as to efforts to combat racism, xenophobia, and ethnic discrimination. Integration efforts focus on creating opportunities that enable individuals to economically support themselves and participate in society, safeguarding basic democratic values and working to secure equal rights and opportunities for women and men.

The most recent national budget included several measures intended to support diversity and inclusion, including increased support for civil society activities focusing on the welcoming of refugees, as well as increased priority to cultural diversity and in policies directed at arts and heritage institutions, with special funding provided for, for example, the National Museum of History, and the National Museums of World Culture for efforts in this direction.

Chapter published: 16-05-2017