The Swedısh Model. Perspectıves on the Internatıonal Relevance of Sweden s Socıal Paradıgm. Swedısh Instıtute & Unıted Mınds. - PDF

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The Swedısh Model. Perspectıves on the Internatıonal Relevance of Sweden s Socıal Paradıgm. Swedısh Instıtute & Unıted Mınds. The Swedısh Model. Perspectıves on the Internatıonal Relevance of Sweden s

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The Swedısh Model. Perspectıves on the Internatıonal Relevance of Sweden s Socıal Paradıgm. Swedısh Instıtute & Unıted Mınds. The Swedısh Model. Perspectıves on the Internatıonal Relevance of Sweden s Socıal Paradıgm. Swedısh Instıtute & Unıted Mınds. 2 3 Contents. Foreword. Foreword 3 Introduction 4 Methodology 4 Selection of countries 4 Selection of interviewees 4 Implementation of interviews 5 Report scope 5 Summary and implications 6 General conclusions 6 Relevance of the Swedish social model abroad 6 General challenges regarding Sweden s relevance abroad 7 Perceptions of the Swedish social model 7 Sweden s image abroad 8 Awareness of Sweden in different parts of the world 8 Sweden as part of Scandinavia and the Nordic region 9 An international model 9 Perspectives on the core values of Sweden s social model 10 A country of equality 10 A country of openness 11 A country of consensus 11 A country that cares 12 Perceptions of what characterizes the Swedish social model 13 Welfare state 13 The knowledge society 15 A country of innovation 15 A country of industry 16 A pioneer in equality 16 A country of eco-awareness 17 A global player 18 A country of immigration 18 A growing economy 18 Annex 20 Once again the Swedish model is an international buzzword. The question is: how does the rest of the world see this social paradigm nowadays? How relevant is it, and to what extent does it resonate in the 21st century? The Swedish Institute (SI) is tasked by the government with promoting interest and confidence in Sweden at international level. Doing this job effectively requires close know ledge of the world around us. This report, The Swedish Model Perspectives on the International Relevance of Sweden s Social Paradigm, forms part of our work to monitor and evaluate the image of Sweden abroad. Based on the social challenges and cultural values of 12 different countries, the report examines the relevance of Swedish experience, values, systems and similar factors to decision-makers and opinion formers in other countries. Swedish governance attracts constant international interest. According to two reports Country Rep Track by the Reputation Institute and Nation Brands Index (NBI) by Anholt GfK Roper other countries see Swedish governance in a strongly positive light. Sweden earns high approval ratings on benchmarks such as democracy, anticorruption, peace and security, freedom of speech and gender equality. Approval is highest for Sweden s approach to gender equality. This report confirms that the view of the Swedish model re mains positive. On the other hand, awareness about Sweden is declining, especially in large, emerging markets and among the younger generation. In some respects, perceptions of the Swedish model appear somewhat outdated. A key task ahead is to promote greater awareness of contemporary Sweden based on aspects that are relevant to the outside world. The report was produced by United Minds on behalf of and in collaboration with SI, and with critical support from Swedish government agencies in the survey countries. United Minds conducted all interviews and analysis; conclusions and implications were discussed and agreed collectively. We are keen to share this report and look forward to further interesting discussions and potential activities to promote continued long-term relations between Sweden and other countries. Stockholm, June 2012 Annika Rembe Director-General, Swedish Institute 4 5 Introductıon. The Swedish Institute is a government agency tasked with promoting Sweden s foreign policy objectives in the fields of culture, society, education, science, business, innovation, democracy and global development. By forging lasting relations and engaging in dialogue with opinion formers and the general public we raise awareness and interest in Sweden s strengths and key actors. SI needs to have close knowledge of its target groups to ensure the effectiveness and relevance of its promotional work. For this reason we monitor and study perceptions and awareness about Sweden across a wide range of parameters in different countries. We also aim to make this knowledge available to and usable by other actors. Previous research into perceptions of Sweden abroad has indicated clear international awareness of Swedish governance. The Swedish social model, the term used in this report, attracts interest internationally. To underpin the promotion of Sweden, it is necessary to gain a greater understanding of how the Swedish social model is perceived internationally and the extent to which it is seen as relevant in other countries. This report gives an up-to-date view of the Swedish model s relevance to contemporary international challenges. The aim is to provide a qualitative overview of how the outside world sees the Swedish social model and to analyze to what degree other countries may see the model as relevant to their own social challenges. The results can then serve as a practical tool in creating and implementing activities to promote long-term relations between Sweden and other nations. The selection process was carried out in consultation with the Swedish Institute of Political Affairs, various Swedish and foreign universities, relevant Swedish diplomatic missions, international foreign correspondents and foreign embassies in Stockholm, and SI's own staff and networks. Thirty-seven respondents were chosen from a list of around 300 potentials three in each country (four in Brazil). Emphasis was placed on diversity in terms of respondents gender and age. Respondents were drawn from different sectors of society and diverse areas of expertise. They included business leaders, political scientists, human rights activists, cultural workers, journalists and economists. They participated as experts in their specialist fields within their native countries. Their participation was in a purely personal capacity and the respondents did not represent their business, organization or place of work. Research company United Minds performed the interviews and checked the respondents quotes. Respondents personally approved all their attributed quotes. SI and United Minds were responsible for analysis and interpretation of interview responses. Report scope The report has two main sections. The first examines international perceptions of the Swedish social model and the second looks at social challenges in the 12 countries and the relevance of Sweden s social model to those contexts. Section two has not been translated and is available only in Swedish, though translations for specific countries can be arranged if there is sufficient interest. Methodology. Selection of countries Twelve countries were selected for this report, all of them priority nations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the promotion of Sweden abroad. The aim was to achieve a global spread of nations relevant to Sweden. The 12 selected countries were: Brazil, Egypt, France, India, Japan, China, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Turkey and the United States. Consideration was given to the differences in cultural values between the countries. For this purpose the report used the Inglehart-Welzers cultural values map, which is based on the World Values Survey (WVS). Cultural variables are important because they have a strong bearing on how social issues and governance are perceived. Applying the Inglehart-Welzers cultural values map ensures that the report retains a global perspective. Selection of interviewees To examine the outside world's view of the Swedish social model, SI commissioned a study based on qualitative interviews with people in different countries. Other research, including the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI), provides basic knowledge of how the Swedish social model is perceived abroad. This report seeks to deepen our understanding in this field. When selecting interviewees, the goal was to obtain a report that paints the broadest possible picture of how the Swedish social model is perceived abroad. Interviewees were also selected on the basis of their ability to give a professional overview of the major social challenges facing their native countries and to explain their countries views on a range of issues and measures in the social field (see Implementation of interviews). The 37 respondents together paint an accurate picture of how the Swedish social model is perceived abroad. Application of the selection criteria meant that input from three respondents was sufficient to give a fairly accurate view of each country s social challenges and approach. The interviews were supplemented by analysis from other studies and international indexes for added precision. Swedish diplomatic missions in the countries concerned were given the opportunity to comment on the various national texts in the report. Implementation of interviews The interviews took place between November 2011 and January Most were conducted by telephone, with a minority held face-to-face in Sweden and the US. Average interview length was 60 minutes. All respondents were asked prepared questions. They were invited to answer openly and to develop their point of view, which led to differences in response length. The questions focused on three areas: 1) view of the Swedish social model; 2) social challenges in the respondent s native country; and 3) issues and values relating to freedom of speech, equality, children s rights, family and government. Responses relating to domestic social challenges tended to be problem-oriented. This bias to a negative perspective reflected the fact that the questions explicitly asked about challenges. In their comments, a number of foreign government agencies suggested that the reality was more positive than indicated by the respondents. In addition to the interviews, the study also relies on external research findings and analysis. Section one draws heavily on the Nation Brands Index (NBI), which measures global perceptions of countries. The NBI is based on an annual quantitative survey in 20 countries that examines perceptions towards 50 nations in the fields of exports, people, governance, tourism, culture and national ability to attract talent for study, research and work. The central reference source in section two is the World Values Survey (WVS). WVS is a survey that has mapped the socio-cultural, moral, religious and political values in 97 countries round the world. The Inglehart-Welzers cultural map, which is based on the WVS, is a key source. The cultural map condenses a number of variables into two main areas: traditional/secular-rational values and survival/ self-expression values. Other indicators were obtained from the OECD, the IMF and Eurostat, and from international indexes such as the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index, the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index, Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index and the UNDP Human Development Report. Some of the national sections in the report also refer to the Rainbow Europe Country Index, produced by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). 6 7 Summary and ımplıcatıons. General conclusions Comparing the results from the report respondents against the benchmark studies, this report confirms that perceptions of the Swedish social model are generally positive but that awareness of Sweden is decreasing an observation also made in the Nation Brands Index (NBI). This is particularly true in emerging economies such as Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. The image of Sweden is the most positive in the countries that are closest to us geographically; the further away they are, the less updated they are on Swedish values and how those values are expressed. In all countries surveyed, awareness and attitudes were strongest among older people, shaped by Sweden s historical role. Hence, efforts are needed to strengthen the image of Sweden among younger people and in the emerging economies that are furthest away from us those that tend to look elsewhere than Western Europe in terms of social exchange. the other hand, the long-term trend is that economic development, globalization and urbanization are fostering the emergence of values similar to those that hold sway in Sweden. This may strengthen our relevance as a social actor in the future. The best-informed respondents were aware of Sweden s progressive stance on social issues such as the treatment of sexual minorities. All appeared to take freedom of expression in Sweden for granted, but none mentioned freedom of speech as a Swedish profile issue and one of the Chinese interviewees criticized Sweden for failing adequately to pursue the issue of freedom of speech vis-à-vis the Chinese regime. Symbols and concrete expressions of the more basic values are important to how Sweden is perceived abroad, especially in countries where awareness is lowest. The two areas seen as most strongly linked to the Swedish social model are equality and social care. It was also in these two fields that respondents had the strongest mental image of Sweden. Mental image was weakest for the concept of consensus. Figure 1: Areas where Sweden and the Swedish social model are most relevant, according to respondents: 1 Strengthen the image of Sweden and raise awareness. 2 Exchange experiences about equality 3 Strengthen children s rights 4 Promote freedom of speech 5 Strengthen rights of sexual minorities 6 Exchange experiences in childcare and education Knowledge of Sweden varied among respondents. In general, however, they described the country as a smoothly run society characterized by equality. Swedes were described as non-hierarchical and consensus-oriented. Respondents praised Sweden's readiness to shoulder international responsibility and Swedes open and tolerant attitude towards each other and other nations. The Swedish social model is intimately linked to the Swedish welfare state. The best-informed interviewees were aware of reforms to the Swedish welfare system following the most recent change of government, though few could name concrete examples of changes implemented. Sweden was described as a knowledge society with a good education system. However, respondents in the more geographically proximate countries knew that Swedish schoolchildren no longer achieve the top results in international knowledge tests (Pisa 2009). Better-informed respondents were aware of Swedish family policy and the system of publicly funded childcare and extensive paid parental leave. In Japan, Swedish family policy is perceived as interesting and applicable to the Japanese context. In other countries outside Europe, however, Swedish family policy is seen as unrealistic and less relevant. According to the World Values Survey (WVS), Sweden is an extreme case in terms of values and far from Swedes own perception of their country as middle-of-the-road. On Relevance of the Swedish social model abroad The figure below shows the areas of the Swedish social model considered most relevant to the various countries, as seen through the eyes of the respondents:. Equality: Interest in equality is increasing worldwide and this trend is set to continue. All countries sur veyed see Sweden as a relevant partner for sharing expe riences on equality, based on their own individual parameters.. Children s rights: Infringements of children s rights occur in several of the report countries. Scope for cooperation with Sweden is reduced in some of these countries, and here the primary mechanism would be to provide support to domestic child rights organizations.. Freedom of speech: The diagram shows the countries where restrictions on freedom of speech are a major problem and where Sweden can be a relevant partner. Cooperation with NGOs is preferable in this type of complex issue.. Rights of sexual minorities: Sexual minorities are a vulnerable group in many of the countries covered in the report. The diagram shows the countries where the scope for cooperation is greatest, taking other contexts into account. Cooperation with NGOs is preferable in this type of complex issue.. Childcare and education: Exchanging experiences in childcare and education appears to be relevant primarily in more developed countries, where opportunities for fruitful collaboration are greatest. In some countries, such as Japan, interest centers on childcare. In other countries, such as in the UK, interest focuses more on education. The diagram shows the countries where respondents expressed an interest in Swedish childcare and/or education. General challenges regarding Sweden s relevance abroad. The decline in awareness and knowledge of Sweden and the Swedish social model.. The declining relevance of Western Europe among emerging economies.. The fact that Sweden in some respects is seen as standing for elusive and unrealistic ideals.. The fact that norms are seen as overly entrenched in Sweden, which may influence openness and the supply of talent.. The fact that Sweden s voice on freedom of speech is not strong enough internationally.. The lack of well-known and contemporary symbols for many of our fundamental values. Perceptions of the Swedish social model. This section presents the respondents perspectives on the Swedish social model.. The section starts with general awareness of Sweden and the Swedish social model under Sweden s image abroad.. Under Perceptions of the Swedish social model s core values it then describes the fundamental values underpinning the Swedish social paradigm.. The section then concludes with a description of specific social reforms and trends that respondents associate with the Swedish social model, under Perceptions of what characterizes the Swedish social model. 8 9 Sweden s ımage abroad. Overall awareness of Sweden is relatively high by global standards. The Nation Brands Index (NBI) 2011 ranked Sweden 21st out of 50 countries for general awareness among well-informed people. The NBI also measures overall attitudes towards countries by analyzing six key areas: exports, people, governance, tourism, culture, and ability to attract talent for study, research and work. Sweden is ranked 10th in the overall standings, meaning that Sweden does better in terms of overall perceptions than it does for general awareness. The term governance is especially important in the context of this report as it is a more specific measure of attitudes to the Swedish social model. It covers government competency, respect for human rights and perceived commitment to global issues like peace and the environment. In governance, Sweden is ranked fourth in the NBI among 50 comparable nations. Only three countries Canada, Switzerland and Germany score higher marks in this field. Based on the NBI, Sweden s governance model can thus be said to have major international relevance. Awareness of Sweden in different parts of the world This report found that awareness about Sweden and the Swedish social model is generally low in the respondents countries of origin. People know Sweden primarily as a country in Northern Europe and in most cases lack more detailed knowledge. I do not think people know much about Sweden, except for it being a boring place that has Ikea, said UK journalist and writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Respondents described the general awareness of Sweden as relatively strong in fellow Baltic Sea states Russia and Poland, though people there have limited in-depth knowledge of the Swedish social model. For general awareness the NBI ranks Sweden 14th in Poland and 23rd in Russia. Basically this means that Polish people see themselves as knowing 13 countries better than Sweden, while Russian people know 22 other countries better. In the 1970s and 1980s many Poles went to Sweden to study or work, so that might be one reason why Sweden is rather well known
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