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In Denmark, Finland and Sweden the evolution of administrative law, including social welfare law, has been marked by a shift towards a stronger protection of the recipient's individual rights. The adoption of activation policies targeting recipients of social assistance has highlighted the tensions between decision-making concerning the implementation of these policies and the legislative efforts to promote the realisation of individual rights in the field of social welfare. An examination of the legislation in question and its implementation conditions shows that the realisation of individual rights is subordinated to the pursuit of organisational and other objectives. The findings of the study are used to formulate proposals for the promotion of individual rights based on the Nordic egalitarian model of citizenship. This critical assessment of activation policies should be of broad international appeal. It will be of interest to researchers in social policy, as well as those concerned with protection of rights.

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