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The military profession in change : The case of Sweden


  • Anna Bolin

Summary, in English

The starting point for this study is the transformation that the latest decade has occurred in security and defence affairs. The focal point is the big challenges that these developments have implied for national armed forces. The perspective chosen to describe and analyse this is that of professionalism, and the object of study is that of the Swedish military. The aim of the study is in broad terms to investigate what the development in security and defence affairs has implied for the professionalism of the Swedish military. As a base for the study a framework of professionalism is used. The framework chosen is developed to describe and explain professionalism generally – not just military professionalism. This framework of professionalism is through out the study used as a structuring device. Through describing the Swedish military officer corps in terms of a general framework of professionalism a theoretical portrait of the Swedish military profession is obtained. In this portrait we can see that changes in the Swedish military reflect a number of elements of professionalism. For each such element, the consequences stemming from developments in security and defence affairs are presented and analysed. How can the changes in military professionalism be understood and characterised in more overall and concluding terms? To find an answer to this, existing approaches to describe military professional changes are analysed, and their capacity to portray the current changes of the Swedish military profession are evaluated. As a result of this enquiry an alternative model is constructed – a model that is considered to more accurately sum up and characterise the development of the Swedish military profession as it is described here. This alternative model depicts the development of the Swedish military profession as a movement away from a professionalism of the “sovereign warrior” towards a professionalism of the “involved constable”. Attention is finally directed towards the professionals themselves and what they think about the changes in security and defence affairs and in their profession. The question asked is what attitudes the military officers harbour towards the development of the military profession. Do they approve or do they oppose it? Etc. The overall conclusion concerning the attitudes of the military officers is that they stand behind the basic direction and strategic goals steering the development in defence and military issues, and accept and support the development and the changes facing them. The sources and material are of two main types. Data have mainly been found in existing literature and in different types of official documents. To investigate the attitudes of the military professionals, semi-structured interviews have been carried out.

Publishing year





Lund Political Studies



Document type



Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Lunds universitet


  • Political Science


  • Profession
  • professionalism
  • professionalisation
  • military
  • defence
  • security
  • attitudes
  • Sweden
  • interviews





  • ISSN: 0460-0037
  • ISBN: 91-88306-69-0
  • ISBN: 978-91-88306-69-2

Defence date

29 February 2008

Defence time


Defence place

Edens Hörsal


  • Gunnar Åselius (professor)