Mångfald, motsägelser och marginaliseringar: En studie av hur invandrarskap formas i skolan
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Diversity, Contradictions and Marginalisation : A study of how immigrant status is formed in school (English)
This thesis is based on fieldwork carried out during the 1990s in three primary and secondary local authority schools in Stockholm where the teaching staff dealt with questions related to immigration and integration as part of their daily work. The aim is to describe and analyse the attention the teaching staff devoted to the category of immigrant children and to illuminate how this attention generated particular conditions for these children. Deriving inspiration from Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration, the thesis analyses how structures were manifested and produced in the daily interaction in the schools. To describe the conditions that were generated in the schools, I have employed Iris Marion Young’s model which highlights different kinds of subordination.
In the schools studied, the question of what culture actually is and what aspects of cultural diversity deserve respect and encouragement continually arose. Questions surrounding how equal opportunities and integration were to be realised and how coexistence in a more diverse Sweden should be organised were dealt with. The category immigrant children was constructed in relation to ’ordinary children’ and ’Swedish children’. The ambitions and problem formulations surrounding ’immigrant children’ were created by visions of independence, freedom of choice, equalization, and social mixing, as well as by established descriptions of reality concerning the suburbs, the needs and development of children, and the key role of the Swedish language.
In the daily activities of the schools, the different experiences and perspectives of the pupils were rarely given positive attention. Teachers concentrated mainly on the experiences and abilities the pupils were believed to lack and what they needed to acquire to become socially and culturally competent according to Swedish norms. The ambitions and problem definitions of the teachers worked together to formulate a project of disconnecting children from their communities, moulding the children in accordance with the standards of the school, and then incorporating the children into a new community. The project was formulated against the background of modernity’s vision of an independent individual enjoying both equality and freedom. The teachers worked to produce children who would enter a future labour market, gain highly valued work, and have access to society’s resources. They worked to prevent what Young terms ’exploitation’, ’marginalisation’ and ’powerlessness’. They concentrated their ambitions on distributing knowledge and skills, but also Swedishness, in the name of equality. However, the project had unintended consequences. Another form of subordination was generated which was reminiscent of what Young terms ’cultural imperialism’. The individuality of the so-called immigrant children was concealed at the same time as they continually landed in the limelight for what they were not. They were homogenised and ascribed difference in ways defined by their surroundings. Their freedom of action was circumscribed and they were cast in the role of the ’Other’, that which is different and inferior. The project of disconnecting, moulding, and incorporating contributed to the building of a status hierarchy and the creation of specific social position, that of the ’immigrant.’
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Prisma , 2003. , 287 p.
Ethnology, ethnic relations, structuration theory, social categorisation, normality, deviance, integration, marginalisation, fieldwork, elementary schools, teachers, immigrant children
Research subject Ethnology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19613ISBN: 91-518-4010-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-19613DiVA: diva2:186137
2003-03-07, 10:00 (English)
Ahlsmark, Gunnar, Docent
Förlagets information: http://www.panorstedt.se/templates/Akademiska/Book.aspx?id=405032007-11-142007-11-142009-07-08Bibliographically approved