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Beyond NPM? Discretionary power within the Swedish police

This project engages in public reforms aiming to reach beyond negative consequences of new public management (NPM), by strengthening professional autonomy and discretionary power. One concrete case of such a reform is in focus, namely the new police authority in Sweden. This is a case in which police officers have been explicitly encouraged to rely on their professional discretion. Nevertheless, they also have to follow central regulations, and the question is if and how they manage to organize legitimate, or ”policeable” local practices, with discretion.

Paradoxically, there is a lack of previous research about professional discretion within such “post-NPM”-reforms. Aiming to fill this gap we collect our data at three strategically chosen parts of the local police practice in Sweden (coordinating unit of local policing, community policing officers, and community agreements), where demands on discretion are
continuously articulated. Theoretically, the project draws on the extensive critique against NPM and “deprofessionalization”, studies on professional discretion and the ”order of worth”-framework suggested by Boltanski
and Thevénot. The latter is based on institutionalized value logics guiding the way actors justify and organize what often emerge as tensed practices.

Project team

Bertil Rolandsson

Micael Björk



Project time

2017 - 2019

Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 10/12/2016

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