Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Ethnicized un/employability: Problematized Others and the shaping of advanced liberal subjects
Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5624-2576
2013 (English)In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 13, no 4, 737-757 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper suggests some analytical tools for theoretically informed qualitative research of the nexus of employability and ethnicity. A governmentality perspective, inspired by Michel Foucault and others who have elaborated on his thoughts, constitutes the analytical approach of the paper. This approach directs the analytical focus towards problematizations and how the conduct of the governed subjects is guided. The analytical tools and approach are then employed using an empirical example. The analysis shows how a certain disadvantaged group – unemployed Somalis in Sweden – is problematized in the context of a labour market project co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). The paper discusses how different techniques, such as resume-writing, personal action plan, guidance and job interview training are deployed in order to reshape these problematized and ethnicized Others into advanced liberal subjects, or ‘employable’ individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 13, no 4, 737-757 p.
Keyword [en]
Ethnicity, employability, ethnicization, governmentality, advanced liberal subject
National Category
Work Sciences International Migration and Ethnic Relations
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-101007OAI: diva2:664733
Available from: 2013-11-16 Created: 2013-11-16 Last updated: 2016-04-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ethnicizing Employability: Governing the Unemployed in Labour Market Projects in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ethnicizing Employability: Governing the Unemployed in Labour Market Projects in Sweden
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Etnifierad anställningsbarhet : Styrning av arbetslösa i arbetsmarknadsprojekt i Sverige
Abstract [en]

The dissertation analyzes labour market projects co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) targeting unemployed migrants and ethnicized groups. The analysis is qualitative, discourse-oriented and based on Foucault’s concept of governmentality. More specifically, it is highlighted how the target groups are ethnicized through discourses of employability and learning. The thesis consists of four articles. In the first three articles, focus is mainly on how the projects present themselves through their project descriptions in the ESF project bank and the fourth article is mainly based on ethnographic material. Overall, this dissertation highlights different aspects of inclusion work directed towards migrants and ethnicized target groups that can be seen as problematic and sometimes contradictory. Tendencies to individualize unemployment and thus positioning the unemployed project participants as responsible for their situation is interrogated in the thesis. Further, it is analyzed how culture and ethnicity is used in ways that are likely to strengthen the target groups ‘Otherness’ in relation to a ‘Swedishness’ that often become synonymous with what is perceived as normal and thus widening the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’ when the stated goal is the opposite. This dissertation can serve as a starting point to reflect on how inclusion efforts and labour market projects seeking to produce social inclusion and employability may be at risk to categorize people in different ways, which can sometimes be problematic in relation to what the efforts seek to achieve.

Abstract [sv]

I avhandlingen studeras arbetsmarknadspolitiska åtgärder, i form av projekt finansierade av Europeiska socialfonden (ESF), riktade mot arbetslösa migranter och etnifierade grupper. Analysen är kvalitativ, diskursorienterad och utgår från Foucaults begrepp governmentality. Mer specifikt belyses hur projektens målgrupper etnifieras genom diskurser om anställningsbarhet och lärande. Avhandlingen består av fyra artiklar. I de tre första artiklarna fokuseras främst hur projekten framställer sig själva genom projektbeskrivningar i ESFs projektbank och den fjärde artikeln utgår främst från etnografiskt material. Sammantaget belyser avhandlingen olika aspekter - som kan ses som problematiska och ibland motsägelsefulla - av inkluderingsarbete riktat mot migranter och etnifierade målgrupper. Det handlar om tendenser att individualisera arbetslösheten och därmed i hög grad ansvariggöra de arbetslösa projektdeltagarna för sin situation. Det handlar också om att använda kultur och etnicitet på ett sätt som riskerar att förstärka målgruppernas ’annorlundahet’ i relation till den ’svenskhet’ som inte sällan blir synonymt med vad som uppfattas som normalt och på så sätt vidga gapet mellan ’vi’ och ’dem’ när den uttalade målsättningen är det motsatta. Avhandlingen kan fungera som en utgångspunkt för att reflektera kring hur inkluderingsinsatser och arbetsmarknadsprojekt riskerar att sortera och kategorisera människor på olika sätt, som kan vara problematiska i relation till vad insatserna vill uppnå.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 77 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 679
Employability, unemployment, social inclusion, social exclusion, ethnicity, governmentality, Anställningsbarhet, arbetslöshet, social inkludering, social exkludering, etnicitet, governmentality
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations Social Work Economics and Business Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Work Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-127382 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-127382 (DOI)978-91-7685-781-6 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-20, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Valla, Norrköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Ethnicized un/employability(154 kB)161 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 154 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Ethnicized un/employability

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Vesterberg, Viktor
By organisation
REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and SocietyDepartment of Social and Welfare StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
In the same journal
Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization
Work SciencesInternational Migration and Ethnic Relations

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 161 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 147 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link