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Becoming an immigrant in the Sfi-classroom: Intersections of gender and national identity in the langauge learning classroom
Dalarna University, School of Education and Humanities, Swedish as Second Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7937-3325
2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Scholars in feminist and postcolonial studies have shed light upon the complex relation between gender equality and integration policies, where in a Swedish context, the perception of gender equality as a central part of “Swedishness” resulted in a hierarchical division between Swedes and immigrants. In this paper, I focus on how gender equality is negotiated in relation to the Other in a specific arena, Swedish for immigrants (Sfi). A tailored education in the Swedish language for persons categorized as adult immigrants has developed since the mid 1960ies in Sweden. In a previous study (Rosén submitted), I analyzed policy documents related to the Sfi education during the period 1967-2011,  showing  how women born in other geographical spaces than Sweden are positioned as less equal, oppressed and/or as victims, thus, reproducing a discourse in which the categories of the Immigrants and the Swedes are negotiated in relation to certain understandings of gender equality. The aim of the study presented here, is to move beyond policy document using an ethnomethodology outlook in order to explore how certain understandings of gender equality and categorizations are constituted and oriented towards by participants in the Sfi-classroom in their everyday practices”.

The theoretical framework employed in the study builds upon the work of postcolonial and feminist research as well as in ethnomethodology. A number of scholars have examined the construction of gender equality as a central core of Swedish national identity or Swedishness. Several researchers in the feminist and postcolonial fields have brought light upon how certain understandings of gender equality (between men and women) and a feminist consciousness are constructed as a central part of Swedish (and Nordic) national identity (de los Reyes, Molina & Mulinari 2005; de los Reyes & Mulinari 2005; Eduards 2007; Carbin 2008; Honkanen 2008; Keskinen 2009; Magnusson, Rönnblom, & Silius 2008; Towns 2002; Tuori 2007). However, by using the ethnomethodological approach, I hope to avoid the implicit determinism often embedded in critical discourse analysis and, instead, to dissolve the polarity between macro and micro/ structure and agency. A central assumption in ethnomethodology is that structure and agency are constituted, oriented to and reproduced by members in social practices. In the study presented here, I analyze classroom interaction from two Sfi-classrooms, created during an ethnographically inspired study at a learning centre for Sfi. In the interaction material presented, I show how gender equality becomes a salient issue for the participants and related to questions of belonging and otherness Thus, the participants orient themselves towards different identity position tied to specific understandings of gender. Moreover, the study raises important questions regarding to methodology in postcolonial, feminist and intersectional studies often concerned with studies on a macro- or structural level. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Utbildning och lärande
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-10034OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-10034DiVA: diva2:524427
Conference
International multidisciplinary workshop Marginalization Processes.2012, 26 - 28 April 2012. Örebro University
Available from: 2012-05-02 Created: 2012-05-02 Last updated: 2015-06-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Svenska för invandrarskap?: Språk, kategorisering och identitet inom utbildningsformen Svenska för invandrare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Svenska för invandrarskap?: Språk, kategorisering och identitet inom utbildningsformen Svenska för invandrare
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis and the four independent studies it builds upon is to examine how categorizations and identity positions are constructed and negotiated in the educational program Swedish for immigrants (SFI) both historically and among participants in the program at the beginning of the 21th century. The analytical focus is on the discourses that frame the development of the SFI program with a specific interest in categorizations and identity in relation to gender, language and national belonging. The empirical material includes historical texts (curricula, commission reports, public inquiries, political propositions, laws) from 1965 to 2010, as well as approximately 95 hours of audio and video recorded data and ethnographic field notes from five SFI classrooms. The results are presented primarily in the four articles but partly also in the thesis itself.

Our analysis in the first study, that takes a sociohistorical perspective as a point of departure, indicates shifts in discourses with regards to the categories and aims of the educational program, thus, making certain identity positions more accessible than others at specific times. Using the approach of nexus analysis, the theoretical framework employed in the second study approaches language policies n terms of a dialectical elationship between policy and the learning that takes lace in the language focused classroom. Feminist and postcolonial frameworks re employed ore pecifically in the third and fourth studies. The historical nalysis presented in article three shows how the categories of “immigrant” and Swedes” ave been produced and negotiated in discourses on gender and gender quality in the SFI program since the early 1970s. The fourth study highlights he omplex relationship between gender equality and integration policies, as well as he perception of gender equality as a central part of Swedishness”, negotiated in he everyday conversations in the SFI classroom. Overall, the results illuminate he circulation of discourses both cross ime and between policy and classrooms. oreover, it contributes to a critical discussion about the intersection of language, ender and national elonging in the negotiation of boundaries between insiders and outsiders in Swedish society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2013. 201 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Education, ISSN 1404-9570 ; 38
Keyword
´Swedish for immigrants, SFI, language education, language policy, categorizations, identity, second language learning, immigrantness, intersectionality
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-13347 (URN)978-91-7668-934-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-31, Föreläsningssal 5, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-11-28 Created: 2013-11-27 Last updated: 2015-06-29Bibliographically approved

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