Youth Rebellion and Social Mobilisation in Sweden: Recent Street Rebellions in Sweden Are Part of a Wider Pattern, but Also Have Distinctly Swedish Elements

By Sernhede, Ove | Soundings, Winter 2013 | Go to article overview

Youth Rebellion and Social Mobilisation in Sweden: Recent Street Rebellions in Sweden Are Part of a Wider Pattern, but Also Have Distinctly Swedish Elements


Sernhede, Ove, Soundings


In 2013 the world was taken by surprise by the series of uprisings that took place in the high-rise suburbs of Stockholm and around Sweden--for a week Swedish youth were hitting the global headlines. The country had not seen unrest on this scale since the hunger riots that raged in Swedish cities during the first world war. But for anyone aware of the impact of the rapid neoliberalisation of the economy on Swedish society and people's expectations for the future, this rebellion, and suburban conflicts in general, had been expected for some time. (1)

The events began on 13 May, when the police were called to Husby, a suburb in northern Stockholm, to arrest a 69-year old man whose behaviour appeared threatening. During the process of arresting the man, in his own apartment, one of the officers shot him dead. Neighbours, together with local organisation the Megaphone, immediately arranged a meeting at which they demanded an explanation and called for an independent inquest. Furthermore, the version of events originally put out by the police turned out to be mendacious. According to their story, the man had been brought to the hospital but his life could not be saved --they claimed that he had died later that night in a hospital bed.

But the inhabitants of Husby knew for a fact that the police statement did not correspond with what had actually happened. They had taken pictures that proved that the body had left the apartment as a corpse several hours after the fatal shot. Many local people stated that they saw the behaviour of the police as an officially sanctioned offensive act, in line with the harassments that they experienced more or less daily. During the course of the following week tensions grew day by day, and one evening six days later, when emotions were boiling over, a group of youngsters ignited a large number of cars in the neighbourhood, in effect luring the police, local fire-fighters and the rescue service into their home suburb. In the course of their subsequent work of protecting the fire-fighters, the police were then exposed to stone throwing, and incendiary bombs were also thrown.

What followed was a ferocious battle, fought out in the streets and market-places of Husby. Several cars, apartment buildings and schools were set on fire. And by the next day the riots had already extended to other districts in Stockholm's urban periphery. (2) The volume of attention these events received in the media throughout the week of turmoil then itself contributed to their spreading to a number of smaller municipalities around Sweden. International media perceived what happened as particularly disturbing and shocking given that it did not chime in with the usual image of Sweden.

These May events were exceptionally widespread, but they were far from unique. On the contrary, the Swedish public has begun to accustom itself to news reports of cars being set alight and police charges against young people in the suburbs. At the end of 2008 Rosengard in Malmo and Tensta in Stockholm experienced similar tumultuous scenes, and during the summer of 2009 Gottsunda in Uppsala had its turn, as did three segregated suburbs in Gothenburg--Biskopsgarden, Angered and Backa. Indeed, during summer 2009 many other suburbs also became showcases for all the social tensions that are embedded in Swedish society. These disturbances gradually subsided, but permanent grievances continued to simmer below the surface--with the ever present possibility that things could get out of control and explode anew.

Causes of rebellion

Relationships with the law that are brimming with tension remain pervasive, and there is always a chance that these may then trigger the unfolding of similar events. However, blaming everything on police behaviour, even if there is a shoot-to-kill incident, is not a satisfactory response. Some of the underlying causes become apparent when we scrutinise the now fairly comprehensive research on similar occurrences in countries such as France and the UK. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Youth Rebellion and Social Mobilisation in Sweden: Recent Street Rebellions in Sweden Are Part of a Wider Pattern, but Also Have Distinctly Swedish Elements
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.