The Neutral Ally: Sweden and the Social Construction of Security Identity

Title: The Neutral Ally: Sweden and the Social Construction of Security Identity
Authors: Parker, Joshua
Date: 2017-04-24
Abstract: Since the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden has not been the direct participant in any armed conflict, and has officially embraced a policy of neutrality. For centuries, this led to a strong policy of territorial defence and little interest in international cooperation in the fields of security and defence, despite a number of turbulent periods of war spreading across Europe. Focusing on the origins and evolution of Swedish neutrality since its inception, this paper aims to illustrate how the social construction of the Swedish security identity firmly established neutrality within the Swedish approach to foreign policy, and how this identity continues to influence Sweden’s contemporary approach to security and defence policy. Through the examination of Sweden’s entry into the European Union and participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Partnership for Peace program, this paper demonstrates how Swedish leaders have progressively shifted the Swedish security identity away from a traditionally neutral identity and towards a more ‘European’ identity, which has resulted in a number of substantial impacts on foreign and security policy at both the domestic and European levels. Finally, this paper contends that Sweden has adopted a progressively narrower definition of neutrality in order to better suit the realities of European security in the twenty-first century, and accommodate a growing willingness to cooperate with international partners in the fields of security and defence.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers