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Career Choices for Young People with Immigrant Background - Transitions, Strategies and Orientations in Education and Work


This project focuses on career-choices of youth with immigrant background. It explores questions of exclusion and inclusion, the importance of of social and cultural capital for school performance. It records reflections on career-paths in a Swedish and transnational perspective. The main result of the project is a PhD thesis on Ethnic Studies focusing on young persons' career-choices, their strategies and orientations and their reflections on these choices. The central research question of the thesis is how young persons with foreign background make their choices relating to education or work. Which are the ambitions, conceptions and visions of these young people? On the background of which influences, conditions, limitations and opportunities do they make their choices? The study reflects on youth's own understandings of their choices, agency and motives. Methods employed are individual and focus group interviews with youth in secondary school combined with participant observation in secondary schools in Stockholm. Teachers and other staff are also interviewed.


Education, Social exclusion/inclusion, Work, Social capital, Transnational


The analysis shows that the family?s social position and the parents? careers form an important vantage point facilitating young people to assess future opportunities. Results indicate that structured individualization in terms both of social class and ethnicity affects young people's career choices and their horizons of opportunity. Furthermore, the study highlights how career choices need to be understood in relation to a horizon of opportunity encompassing both a temporal and a spatial dimension. Young people's horizons of opportunity are obscured by perceived ethnic discrimination in the labour market, as well as by ethnic categorizations at school affecting their careership. When young people in their narratives position themselves in the context of their parents' homeland, they extend the scope of action in a symbolic but also practical sense. By taking into account their translocal position, we see how positioning in different spatial contexts is associated with shifts in the horizon of opportunity that are related to career choices.


Lundqvist, Catarina (2010). Möjligheternas horisont: etnicitet, utbildning och arbete i ungas berättelser om karriärer. Diss. Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2010
Lundqvist, Catarina & Aleksandra Ålund (2007) 'Social exkludering och motstånd: utbildning och arbete i multietniska ungdomssammanhang' i Olofsson, Jonas & Thoursie, Anna (red.), Ungas framtidsvägar. Möjligheter och utmaningar. Agoras årsbok 2006. Stockholm: Agora.
Lundqvist, C. (2007) 'Arbetsplatsförlagd utbildning: Karriärvägledning och/eller sortering?', i: Dahlstedt, M. m.fl. (red.) Utbildning, arbete, medborgarskap, Umeå: Boréa
Lundqvist, Catarina (2007.) 'Transnationella horisonter i val av utbildning och karriär', i Olsson, Erik, Lundqvist, Catarina, Rabo, Annika, Åkesson, Lisa, Sawyer, Lena & Wahlbeck, Östen (red.), Transnationella rum, Umeå: Boréa
Lundqvist, Catarina, (2006) Karriärvägar för ungdomar med utländsk bakgrund: framtidsplaner, orienteringar och strategier mellan utbildning och arbete, Bilaga till Rapport Integration 2005, Norrköping: Integrationsverket.

2004 - 2010


Linköpings universitet

REMESO Project Leader

Catarina Lundqvist, PhD

Scientifically Responsible

Aleksandra Ålund, Professor Emerita

Participants not from REMESO

  • Docent Erik Olsson, CEIFO, Stockholms universitet (biträdande handledare), fd REMESO

Contact for project


Last updated: 2011-05-30

Page responsible: erik.berggren@liu.se
Last updated: 2020-05-27