I en nyligen publicerad artikel analyserar Klara Hermansson den kriminalpolitiska debatten inför 2014 års riksdagsval. Hon finner en tvetydig politisk retorik som blandar moraliska och känslomässiga uttalanden om att vara hårda mot brott, med reformistiska och återhållsamma uttalanden om långsiktiga lösningar.

Artkeln publicerades i Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention.

Symbolic politics are often considered to be closely linked to an alarmist rhetoric, as well as to punitive crime policy initiatives. This article explores the symbolic dimension of the Swedish crime policy debate. Since Sweden is frequently depicted as an antithesis to punitive Anglophone societies, exploring symbolic politics in this setting might expand our understanding of what symbolic statements may consist of. The article analyses the electoral campaign preceding the Swedish general election of 2014, with the aim of identifying which symbolic statements occupy a central position in the debate through the use of a qualitative content analysis. This analysis reveals an ambiguous political rhetoric, comprising morally and emotionally charged condemnatory statements about getting tough on crime, as well as reformist and restrained references to expert knowledge and long-term solutions. On the one hand, these reformist statements strengthen the image of Swedish crime policy as being based on ideals such as rationality and humanity. On the other, they also serve to legitimize and obscure penal expansion.