Keeping up with the Kladdkaka: Kindness and coercion in Swedish immigration detention centres

Vicky Canning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
267 Downloads (Pure)


Unlike many of its neighbouring North European countries, Sweden has historically been reluctant to expand its use of immigration detention. Likewise, and similar to its use of prisons, it is a state that often favours architectural ‘softness’ in the structure and regime of detention. However, as this article contends, its reputation for hospitality and welfare is in contrast with the very existence of such spaces. Reflecting on interviews with detention custody officers and governors in two such centres, I demonstrate how ‘hard’ approaches to control are instead supplemented with dualistically ‘kind’ and coercive measures to obtain their ultimate agenda: the deportation of the unwanted immigrant Other. Considering the harms inherent to imprisonment, I argue that – although preferable to harsher conditions enacted by various other states – the negative impacts of confinement cannot be eradicated by ‘soft’ approaches, but rather require the eradication of border confinement itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Early online date3 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jan 2019

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice


  • Borders
  • Detention
  • Harm
  • Sweden
  • immigration
  • Immigration Detention


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