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Migration, Public Service and Health

Research within this stream includes the study of migration and ethnic relations in welfare institutions with particular focus on health and education. Central questions are how public and private services are organized and distributed to an ethnically diverse population, the implementation of social rights and provisions and how clients and customers are shaped by current socio-economic processes. The impact of racialisation and social exclusion on health and care is crucial for this stream, and the studies adopt intersectional methodologies to examine how class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and age affect different aspects of health and care in a globalized era.

Stream leader: Associate professor Anna Bredström

A New Biologism?

Anna Bredström, Senior Lecturer

The aim of this project is to examine the extent to which ethnic differences in health are ascribed a biological significance in a Swedish context, and if so, how that may impact on equality in health...
The aim of this project is to examine the extent to which ethnic differences in health are ascribed a biological significance in a Swedish context, and if so, how that may impact on equality in health care as well as attitudes on race and ethnicity.
The project will meet its aim through two case studies: Psychiatric Ill-health (Depression/Anxiety) and Diabetes (Type 2) in Sweden. Both Psychiatric Ill-health and Diabetes constitute major health problems both globally and nationally, and in both cases, migrants are identified as disproportionally affected. Migrants vulnerability is explained both with reference to sociocultural factors and to genetic or neurobiological differences between different ethnic groups. The latter have gained increased significance during the last decades, which has been interpreted by scholars in science and technology studies as a “biomedicalization” of society. Some also argue that biomedicalization is transforming the social categories of race and ethnicity to primarily biological categories.
Through a detailed empirical study, this project thus examines to what extent this is true in Sweden.

Promoting Multicultural Conviviality Through Transversal Dialogue

Anna Bredström, Senior Lecturer

This project develops theoretical insights and methods for the purpose of aiding anti-discriminatory education to accommodate value conflicts in society. The project builds upon previous research that...
This project develops theoretical insights and methods for the purpose of aiding anti-discriminatory education to accommodate value conflicts in society. The project builds upon previous research that has identified value conflicts related to gender and sexuality as a challenge for education that seeks to combat discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities, in particular in situations where gender equality and sexual rights are articulated as 'Swedish' values.

The project employs qualitative methods and consists of fieldwork carried out in two upper secondary schools over a period of two years. The fieldwork follows an interactive research design where the researchers conduct classroom observations, interview teachers and students, provide feedback and, subsequently, develop the continuing practice in close cooperation with the participants. Drawing upon theories of feminist intersectionality and multicultural conviviality, the project seeks to promote reflexive knowledge among the participants, and to develop anti-discriminatory pedagogies that are inclusive and sensitive to diverse experiences and conflicting values among the participants.

Finished projects

Ethnicity and Gender in Primary Health Care

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor & Anna Bredström, Senior Lecturer

The main aim of the project is to examine what role ethnicity and gender have in the treatment of women of migrant background in primary health care, and how this is reflected in the every day practice...
The main aim of the project is to examine what role ethnicity and gender have in the treatment of women of migrant background in primary health care, and how this is reflected in the every day practice in three different institutions: a primary health care center (vårdcentral); a youth clinic (ungdomsmottagning) and a maternity welfare clinic.

The project contains three sub-studies that examine three different empirical levels. The first study analyses definitions and intentions on a policy level and map out how the work is organised in different institutions. The second study examines the level of implementation and focuses on the every day practice of the three institutions. Method for this study includes both focus group interviews and single interviews. The third study examines, through in-depth interviews, how migrant women experience the treatment from the different institutions. The project applies a comparative perspective and analyses similarities and differences between the different institutions as well as between the different empirical levels.

After the Success with the New Generation of Antidepressants

Anna Bredström, Senior Lecturer

The purpose of this project is to explore the complex changes brought about by the SSRI revolution from an intersectional and multi-sited perspective. The project particularly focuses on understandings...
The purpose of this project is to explore the complex changes brought about by the SSRI revolution from an intersectional and multi-sited perspective. The project particularly focuses on understandings of the self and on experiences, practices, biomedical knowledge production and discourses related to depression and medication. The project applies an explorative and interdisciplinary approach. It involves researchers in science and technology studies (STS), gender studies, developmental biology and cultural studies and thus bridges the epistemological gap between the natural sciences and the social sciences/humanities. The project is multi-sited and focuses on four themes: (1) the everyday experiences of patients/users of SSRI; (2) the clinical practices and professional experiences of primary care physicians that meet and treat these patients; (3) the developments and changes in the production of biomedical knowledge on brains and SSRIs as well as its dissemination into clinical practice; and (4) the discursive construc¬tion of the self, depression and SSRI-usage in policy and public debate. Throughout the project the following questions will be central: (a) how are depression and depressive-like symptoms understood and experienced and what treatments and strategies are seen as appropriate?; (b) how are the effects and efficacy of SSRIs experienced, conceptualised and measured?; (c) how is the self understood, and what is the relation between self and body?; and (d) how are these processes affected by and affecting how different masculinities and femininities are bodily experienced, lived as identities and discursively shaped?

Young People and Sexual Risk-taking

Anna Bredström, Senior Lecturer

The aim of this project is to examine representations, knowledge and experiences around youth and sexual risk. The recent years´increase of sexually transmitted diseases indicates that sexual risk taking...
The aim of this project is to examine representations, knowledge and experiences around youth and sexual risk. The recent years´increase of sexually transmitted diseases indicates that sexual risk taking among young men and women are relatively common. Previous research has also shown that such risk taking varies among different groups of young people. The project will therefore specifically focus on how - depending upon class, ethnicity and sexual identity - different masculinities and femininities are linked to sexual risk taking. The project sets out from a theoretical understanding that social structures and cultural contexts shape the understanding of what constitutes "risky" and "safe" sexual practices. It uses discourse theory as an over all methodological framework, and applies several qualitative methods. It is divided into three substudies: (1) the first examines informational and educational safer sex material targeting young people; (2) the second examines, through focus group interviews, how young people interprets a selection of the same material; (3) and the third observe the formal school based sex education through observations and single interviews.

Swedish retirement migrants to Spain and migrant workers:

Anna Gavanas, Docent

Swedish retirees are part of a growing stream of Northern Europeans who migrate to Southern Europe to retire in the sun.
Exploring the relations between streams of migrants who meet in Spain, and their...
Swedish retirees are part of a growing stream of Northern Europeans who migrate to Southern Europe to retire in the sun.
Exploring the relations between streams of migrants who meet in Spain, and their intermediaries, this project explores issues of mobility and the globalization of care/service, of crucial importance to welfare states and the future of work, elderly care and retirement conditions in Ageing Europe

Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality in Social Policies

Jennie K. Larsson, PhD & Peo Hansen, Professor

The study focus on the role of the civil servants in the implementation process of social policies. The projects purpose is to study Swedish integration and labour market policies. Issues of how race/ethnicity,...
The study focus on the role of the civil servants in the implementation process of social policies. The projects purpose is to study Swedish integration and labour market policies. Issues of how race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class are done in the meeting between civil servants and their clients are often absent in research on public administration. The study focuses on, from a race/ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality perspective, how labour market establishment of newly arrived Swedes are made.

Empirically, the material will be gathered at institutions that are responsible for the integration of newly arrived immigrants, i.e. employment offices.

The project has an intersectional approach and is theoretically framed within gender studies and ethnicity studies. The study also takes it theoretical point of departure in welfare state research and public administration studies. The methods used are participant observation, in-depth interviews and discourse analysis.

The main result of the project is a PhD dissertation on Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Ethnicity in Preschool

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor

Since the 1970s, preschool has been seen as an important place for ethnic integration. Yet, it has not been much investigated with respect to ethnicity aspects. This project aims to explore how ethnicity...
Since the 1970s, preschool has been seen as an important place for ethnic integration. Yet, it has not been much investigated with respect to ethnicity aspects. This project aims to explore how ethnicity is accomplished in a number of Swedish preschools. More specifically it focuses on the interaction between children, parents and teachers, and how ethnicity is invoked and made meaningful in every day practices. Moreover, it maps the organizational framework for everyday interactions and practices, in relation to bilingualism and ethnicity. The project is planned as four sub-studies in order to reach a broader understanding of how ethnicity is constructed in different preschool contexts. A variety of methods will be deployed - focus group interviews as well as dyadic interviews, video recordings, participant observations, and analyses of documents - which all supplement each other. We believe that the project will deepen the knowledge about how ethnicity is accomplished in daily preschool interactions and practices. The project also aims to increase understandings of everyday constructions of ethnicity, which has relevance both for preschool teachers and for preschool teacher students.

Swedish only?

Tünde Puskas, Postdoctor fellow

The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council. There are two researchers involved in the project Tünde Puskás and Prof. emeritus Rune Johansson and the project consists of two parts. Rune Johansson...
The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council. There are two researchers involved in the project Tünde Puskás and Prof. emeritus Rune Johansson and the project consists of two parts. Rune Johansson studies the construction and re-formulation of languages policies at the national, societal level. Tünde Puskás focuses on how language policies are implemented at the municipal level within the sphere of education.
Thus the project aims at exploring
1. how Swedish language policies interact with major ideological debates on uniformity and diversity
2. how local school politicians and school leaders interpret, challenge and appropriate societal language planning principles and how they relate to the usage of Swedish and other languages in municipal schools.
The project fits well in the internationally expanding academic field ethnography of language policy. Studies within this tradition aim to link micro-level educational practices with macro-level language policies and discourses on language use through illuminating the connections between macro and micro levels of analysis. The ethnography of language policy in the context of this project allows us to illuminate the different layers of language policies. This approach requires broad definition of language policies. Language policy is thus conceptualised as the totality of language beliefs (ideologies, societal norms, values and individual perceptions) and language management (rules, laws, regulations and actions undertaken to influence or modify language practices).

HIV/AIDS, Sexual Risk Taking and Intersectionality

Anna Bredström, Senior Lecturer

Project 2
Previous research indicates that young people's sexual risk taking varies depending upon gender, ethnicity and class. A main aim of the study is therefore to explore the issue from an intersectional...
Project 2
Previous research indicates that young people's sexual risk taking varies depending upon gender, ethnicity and class. A main aim of the study is therefore to explore the issue from an intersectional perspective focusing on how intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class shape young people's sexual practice in general and sexual risk taking in particular. In addition, the project consists of two subprojects, one focusing on sexual risk taking in relation to alcohol consumption, and the other on sexual risk taking among gay and lesbian youth.

Theoretically, the project sets out from a perspective where sexual risk taking (as well as alcohol consumption) is understood as shaped by socio-cultural and structural factors. By adopting a qualitative approach (using focus groups and individual interviews), the project seeks to expand a research field that is dominated by quantitative studies.

Ethnicity, Gender, Boys and Young Men in Institutional Care

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor

The project investigate how ethnicity and gender is constructed in the care and treatment at youth detention homes. Central questions are about how the institution staff understand the enrolled boys and...
The project investigate how ethnicity and gender is constructed in the care and treatment at youth detention homes. Central questions are about how the institution staff understand the enrolled boys and themselves in relation to ethnicity and gender and how that understanding is given importance in the organization of the institutions, their practices and attitudes. This is investigated with participant observations and interviews at four detentions homes for boys in the age of 13-21. The aim is to analyse how ethnicity and gender is given significance and materialize in practice through the institution staff actions, reflections and definitions of the social world. The study has a critical understanding of ethnicity, that will say ethnic relations are understood as products of power relations. Ethnicity is under this an instrument for sorting people that results in differential identities, exclusionary practices, different and unequal conditions. The study also builds on feminist research indicating that gender has a central position i constructing ethnicity. This approach emphasizes that neither ethnicity or any other dimension of social relations can be analysed as something pre-given, it problematizes rather how constructions of different relationships/categories also implies an attitude in relation to each other.

Migration, Integration and Health

Martin Klinthäll, Associate professor

Previous research has demonstrated differences in health between immigrants and natives in Sweden along several dimensions, e.g. regarding self-reported health, hospitalisation rates, as well as mortality...
Previous research has demonstrated differences in health between immigrants and natives in Sweden along several dimensions, e.g. regarding self-reported health, hospitalisation rates, as well as mortality rates. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of early life conditions in the country of birth and current socioeconomic conditions in adult life in Sweden on severe morbidity (leading to hospitalisation) and on mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancers, and other causes, among immigrants and natives in Sweden.
The study uses two large-scale databases; SMD (Social Medicine Data Base) and SLI (Swedish Longitudinal Immigrant Database) Results show that when controlling for demographic characteristics only, most immigrant groups display higher rates of hospitalisation and higher all-cause mortality than native Swedes, but when socio-economic factors are introduced, only Nordic immigrants display rates that are significantly higher than for Swedish born.
The effects of current adult life socioeconomic conditions in Sweden on mortality are both stronger and more straightforward than the effects of early life conditions.

"From Immigrant Dense to Internationl"

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor

This study is an evaluation conducted on behalf of the Education Office in Linköping municipality during 2007-2009. The evaluation includes the training project "From Immigrant Dense to International"...
This study is an evaluation conducted on behalf of the Education Office in Linköping municipality during 2007-2009. The evaluation includes the training project "From Immigrant Dense to International" for teachers employed in elementary and secondary school and was conducted as a process evaluation. The reader can take advantage of the result in the referenced report, which primarily reflects the quality of a training project, but also can be read as examples of teacher´s speach and notions about "multicultural education", "cultural differences" and "immigrant students". The reasoning put forward by the evaluation participants are common findings that have been shown and discussed in a number of previous studies focusing on school and ethnic relations. Not least that well-meaning but unthinking inclusive aspirations of the school might lead to stigma and exclusion of students with immigrant backgrounds.

Language and Communication in Multilingual Preschool Groups

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor

This study is an evaluation conducted on behalf of the Education Office in Linköping municipality during 2007-2008. The evaluation includes a one-year training "Language and communication in multilingual...
This study is an evaluation conducted on behalf of the Education Office in Linköping municipality during 2007-2008. The evaluation includes a one-year training "Language and communication in multilingual preschool groups" for pre-school staff. Purpose of the training was to undertake a development project for clarifying and strengthening language stimulation and language support activities in the preschool. Evaluation questions have been: How do they who participated in the training reflect on its knowledge material and how they reflect on language? What footprint provides training in daily preschool activities, in terms of concrete actions, thoughts and reasoning? What dilemmas can be seen in relation to the completed training?

School's Treatment of

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor

In the wake of two high-profile murders in 1999 and 2002, which involved the killing of two young women of Kurdish background by close family members, the situation of and the victimisation experienced...
In the wake of two high-profile murders in 1999 and 2002, which involved the killing of two young women of Kurdish background by close family members, the situation of and the victimisation experienced by "immigrant girls" in their families has been transformed into an important issue in Sweden. The murders came to bo defined as "honour murders" and the situation showed that there was an acute need for conrete measures to combat this violence. The project analysis the Swedish school system´s efforts to combat "honour-related" violence. The study is ethnographic and the empirical material is based on interviews with student welfare staff at different compulsury schools and colleges of further education. There are also some participant observations at study days focused on "honour-related" violence. An important result is that the violence is understood as related to the Other, located to a "traditional" and "patriarchal" culture. A consequence of this is that the violence is homogenized. That will say the violcene is attributed to clear-cut explanations and signs, which makes alternative explanations and interpretations invisible. "Honour-related" violence is distinguished and separated from other gender-based violence, whereby whole groups will be stigmatized as victims or perpetrators of violence.

The School Makes a Difference

Sabine Gruber, Associate Professor

The study, which is a dissertation study, examines how ethnicity is turned into a central category for the social organisation of the school and used to emphasise differences, whereby students are categorised...
The study, which is a dissertation study, examines how ethnicity is turned into a central category for the social organisation of the school and used to emphasise differences, whereby students are categorised as Swedes and immigrants. Interest is also levelled at how ethnicity constructions are bound up with social complexity and interact with other relations, especially gender and class.
The study is based on ethnographical field studies in a comprehensive secondary school, primarily consisting of participant observations of classroom situations, staff meetings and informal discussions where teachers talk about their work and students.
The study shows that the differences that are generated and sustained through the school personnels actions, argumentation and interactions with the students are complex, varied and closely bound up with the school context. This means that individual students are not only and alternately identified as immigrants or Swedes, but are dependent on contexts also understood in a variety of ways. For example, students who are successful in their schoolwork are, to a lesser extent, identified as immigrants.
One important observation is that the school personnels everyday work and contact with the students are ambitious when it comes to justice and tolerance, but that these intentions are seldom combined with insights into the power aspects associated with social relations. Daily practices are instead overshadowed by the need to accomplish certain teaching elements, where attention is focused on the classroom situation in preference to highlighting or discussing students individual experiences and living conditions. The school personnels intentions and possibilities of working towards equality and against discrimination are thus transformed so that the school instead produces and sustains relations of inequality.




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Last updated: 2020-05-27