Transparency as Ideal and Practice: Labour Market Policy and Audit Culture in the Swedish Public Employment Service

Christina Garsten, Kerstin Jacobsson

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    21 Downloads (Pure)


    New Public Management (NPM) ideas and practices have significantly reshaped labour market policy. This article takes a closer look at some of the implications of NPM practices and “audit culture” at local Public Employment Service (PES) authorities in Sweden. Based on interviews with staff at a rehabilitation unit in PES, the article analyses processes of evaluating work capacity and disability for marginally employable people, as part of the Employability Rehabilitation Programme. By studying the classification procedures, the article aims to show how administrative categories work as “technologies of government” that make transparent and “legible” desirable traits in the individual. Such classificatory schemes, we argue, are integral parts of the operational procedures of NPM. Moreover, the analysis shows that the categories through which the individual moves are plastic and pliable in relation to political predicates and labour market fluctuations. In this process, employability and disability become floating categories
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalStatsvetenskaplig Tidskrift
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)69-92
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Cite this