Rickard Jonsson, Associate professor, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University

Narrativer om skolans stökiga pojkar: Om normerande svenskhet och  förortskillen i positionen som den stökige Andre

Boy’s underachievement and oppositional behavior in school has for a long time been the target of various public debates. As noted by several gender scholars (c.f. Epstein et al 1998; Francis, 2006; Griffin, 2000), the relation drawn between gender and school achievement is often portrayed as constituting a crisis in education. Moreover, the category of “disruptive boys” is often taken for granted in dominant public discourses on the subject: the category is used to explain rule breaking activities and disciplinary problems in classrooms. Yet, I argue that it is precisely this category that needs to be deconstructed. In light of the above, the research project  “Rowdy boys?” investigates how the influential theory of boys’ anti-school culture, can be interpreted as a master narrative that is being reproduced but also contradicted and subverted in small stories (Bamberg 2006; Georgakopoulou 2007), constructed by students and teachers, in interviews as well as mundane talk in local school contexts.

More specifically, drawing on ethnographic data from two fieldworks in Swedish upper secondary schools, the following paper explores have the category of the disruptive boy is constituted as non Swedish, and closely associated with so called multicultural schools. Moreover, I take in interest in how these categorizations are handled rhetorically in interviews and class room talk, without being perceived as racist or disparaging. And I discuss how those linguistic resources, that may be called political correct or morally good, nonetheless can be used in the construction of a normative Swedishness - and the immigrant young man as yet another synonym for the “disruptive boy” in school.

NB The seminar will be held in Swedish.

Find out more about the Migration cluster at the Department of Social Anthropology.

All seminars in the series.