Sociala utredningar om barn : en rättssociologisk studie av lagstiftningens krav, utredningarnas argumentationer och konsekvenser för den enskilde

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis is about the social services’ investigations into childrens need of protection and support. The principal purpose is, from a critical perspective, to analyse and discuss how the legally-accorded procedural directives for the execution of an investigation, and therein the integrated support and counselling work, are adapted in the social services’ actual investigation work in relation to the parents.

The issue is illustrated through an in-depth analysis of three case documents as a basis for an application in the county administrative court for compulsory care in 1997. For analytical purposes two elements are distinguished: 1) The investigation as part of a decision process constitutes an argumentation process which affects how the family’s problems and the child’s need of care may be defined. 2) The investigation as part of a counselling process constitutes a social intervention which affects the parents’ capacity to act as parents and individuals. The study is looked at from a socio-constructionist perspective which concerns itself with how the law is applied in the interaction between the executor of the law and the individual in daily reality, as well as an analytical method which considers various social factors’ significance in the way in which the law is actually applied.

The analysis is based on two premises: 1) The investigator is placed in a rhetorical situation and must formulate his/her argumentation in the investigation in such a way as to be able to influence the court to decide in favour of the investigator’s standpoint. 2) The parents are placed at a disadvantage since the investigator has control over both the counselling resources and means for coercion and the investigation’s structure, content and information flow.

The analysis demonstrates that the investigator’s power of authority is used repressively against the parents. This may be seen not least in the form of a suppression of the parents’ own definitions of the problem and suggestions for solving this problem, a biased focusing on the negative aspects of the parents as well as, by classifying the parents as either “treatable” or “untreatable”, an exclusion of certain parents from means of support and counselling. The results illustrate the need for a legal reinforcement of the parents’ position in the investigation. Yet the repression is also partly linked to a standardised range of measures which do not allow for tailor-made solutions to the complex cases often involved, and partly insufficient material resources which necessitate a system of priorities wherein the most resource-demanding parents are excluded from the procedural system. Consequently, if the social services are to be able to carry out the investigations according to the legislative aims, then they must also receive the necessary resources.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • Sociala problem, national insurance, Social problems and welfare, coercive measures, argumentation, compulsory care, case documents, rhetoric, social welfare legislation, social work, social investigations, social välfärd, socialförsäkring, Social law, Socialrätt
Translated title of the contributionSocial investigations on children. A sociology of law study of legslaive requirements, argumentation and consequences for the individual.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2003 Jun 5
Print ISBNs91-7267-144-0
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2003-06-05 Time: 10:00 Place: Carolinasalen, Lunds universitet External reviewer(s) Name: Andenæs, Kristian Title: Professor Affiliation: [unknown] ---

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