Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

The Swedish Model in the Post-Financial Crisis Era

Edited by Christina Garsten, Jessica Lindvert and Renita Thedvall

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, people who had never before had cause to worry about losing their jobs entered the ranks of the unemployed for the first time. In Sweden, the welfare state has been radically challenged and mass unemployment has become a reality in what used to be viewed as a model case for a full employment society. With an emphasis on Sweden in the context of transnational regulatory change, Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market discusses how the market mediates employment and moves on to explore the ways in which employees adjust to a new labour market. Focusing on the legibility, measurability and responsibility of jobseekers, the expert contributors of this book bring together an analysis of activation policy and new ways of organizing the mediation of work, with implications for the individual jobseeker.

Chapter 3: The dual role of the Public Employment Service: to support and control

Lars Walter

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Unemployment – and society’s responsibility for the unemployed – has been one of most intensely debated issues in recent years. The debate occurs mainly at a general level, with political and ideological arguments juxtaposed. More rarely discussed is the everyday practical work: the methods used by the Public Employment Service for administrating the flow of people from unemployment into new jobs – labour market policy converted into action. For the individual, unemployment not only means a lack of employment, salary, and a social work context, but also taking on a new role as jobseeker. This is a role that requires that the jobseeker acquire the skills, knowledge and routines expected of him or her. The Public Employment Service and its case officers thus have a central role in supporting and teaching unemployed individuals to look for work – to become jobseekers. It also has a controlling function, since it is the case officers of the Public Employment Service who determine who is employable and who qualifies for unemployment insurance. This chapter looks at how the Public Employment Service’s dual function of both supporting and controlling is evinced in the practical work of the case officers. The focus is on the methods used to translate labour market policy into action through three phases of the jobseeker’s contact with the Public Employment Service: registration, drawing up of an action plan, and the job and development programme.

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