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Att vara mitt emellan: hur spanskamerikanska ungdomar i Sverige kan uppfatta villkoren för sin sociokulturella identitetsutveckling
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
1998 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
How Latin American youths in Sweden understand the conditions for their socio-cultural identity development (English)
Abstract [en]

This study aims to elucidate the conditions for the socio-cultural identity development of Latin American youths living in Sweden. It has been conducted with a view to the youths' own perspective, what they consider important about the significant contexts in which they have grown up and how they looked upon themselves during this process.

I examine socio-cultural identity from three aspects: identity, language and culture. The term socio-cultural is a combination of a social and a cultural concept. The study is retroductive: my analysis and interpretation of how the youths look at their life situation build on data collected during their intermediate years in compulsory school (grades four to six) and upper secondary school. The research method is based on a life history approach. The data come from interviews and group discussions with the youths, questionnaire to teachers and the youths, drawings by the youths, informal discussions with parents and teachers, correspondence, and my own journal notes. Symbolic interaction and ethnology have provided the theoretical framework and central concepts of the study. These theoretical concepts, along with the youths' own concepts, serve both as guidelines and tools for the analysis and interpretation.

The youths participate actively in the formulation of their socio-cultural identity. Identity develops through interaction with others, which is why social relationships are of central importance. A sense of security or insecurity develops as a result of these processes. Language is the mediating activity that is present throughout the whole process. Furthermore, the results show that school is not a place where the youths feel secure and that how they are received in school is of vital importance. The youths find security within their extended families, even if their parents are divorced.

Growing up in Rinkeby gives the youths in the study a sense of security. In Rinkeby they do not stand out as being different. But the youths are also aware that to be accepted by the Swedish society they must conceal the fact that they come from Rinkeby.

The young people identify either with their own group (Chileans) and their own language (Spanish), or with the "immigrant group" and its language (Rinkeby Swedish). Sometimes they identify with both, but never with "the Swedes". They switch linguistic codes (Spanish and Swedish) when talking among themselves: that and Rinkeby Swedish are identity markers. Most of the youths consider themselves to be "between two worlds": neither the family nor society understands their situation. They experience that however much they may wish to, they are not allowed to belong to the Swedish society. Some feel more integrated than others, and some have a sense of identity and know where they stand in relation to the groups around them. Others continue their search for identity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Pedagogiska institutionen , 1998. , 244 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1104-1625 ; 87
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-45690ISBN: 91-7153-708-2OAI: diva2:369346
Public defence
1998-03-20, G-salen, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Frescati, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-11-10 Created: 2010-11-10 Last updated: 2010-11-11Bibliographically approved

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