Chapter 12: A spanner in the works': exploring the relationship between provision of welfare and integration in rural areas
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The Nordic welfare model is built on the logic of equality and equal access to welfare goods. However, the rollback of the state from rural areas in the Nordic countries has been significant, and unequal access to essential welfare services such as schools, infrastructure, and healthcare is pronounced. The relationship between the provision of welfare services and refugee settlement, including integration measures and policy, is the departure point when investigating and explaining possibilities to provide the prerequisites needed to achieve ‘full economic, social, cultural, and political participation’, the goal of the prevailing European Commission Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027. While refugees are often placed and encouraged to settle in rural areas, these areas may not always be well equipped to fulfil the population’s needs in the first place. The chapter builds on a qualitative case study from the Swedish rural region of Dalarna, and the results are analysed within the framework of rural justice.

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