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Att synas och lära utan att synas lära: En studie om underprestation och privilegierade unga mäns identitetsförhandlingar i gymnasieskolan
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2012 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
To be seen and to learn, without being seen to learn : A study of under-achievement and identity-negotiation among privileged young men in upper-secondary school (English)
Abstract [en]

In the last decade stratification within educational results has, in Sweden as in other countries, been framed as a matter of boys’ and young men’s under-achievement. The question of whether this is a problem, and if so, for whom and how to change the structure, has been discussed in research and educational policy. The aim of the thesis is to contribute to these fields and to enhance knowledge of young people’s gendered and classed identity processes, by analyzing how achievement and engagement were negotiated and given meaning in relation to young men. Previous research has primarily explored identity processes among “risk categories” or subordinated students. The objective here was to analyze how masculinity was accomplished via peer-group interactions within a rarely problematized category, through examining how upper middle-class young men identify themselves and are ascribed identities by others.

The study’s design was inspired by ethnographic methodology and combined participant observation, semi-structured individual and group interviews and a background questionnaire. Identities, social categorizations (especially gender and class) and dominance-relations were thus analyzed from an actor-oriented perspective. The research participants were young men and women, age 15-16, in two school classes. The field work was conducted at, respectively, a Natural Science and a Vehicle Programme; educational settings with connotations to masculinity but significantly different in terms of class. The study enrolled a total of fifty-six students, but focus is upon the fifteen young men among the natural science students. 

High achievement and under-achievement, high social and cognitive ability, and group loyalty are main themes in the study. Identity claims were analyzed in relation to the practices through which they were negotiated, e.g. self-hindrance. Similar to other research, the results emphasize the relationship between masculinity and “effortless achievement”. The concept “under-achievement” is developed as an analytical tool, by distinguishing between five dimensions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2012. , 310 p.
Studia Sociologica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0585-5551 ; 59
Keyword [en]
Sociology; Sociology of education; Actor-oriented sociology; Under-achievement; Young men; Upper-secondary school; Sweden; Identity; Identity process; Gender; Class; Masculinity; Privilege.
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Sociology; Sociology of Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-164049ISBN: 978-91-554-8245-9OAI: diva2:466041
Public defence
2012-02-10, IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2011-12-15 Last updated: 2012-01-24

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Nyström, Anne-Sofie
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