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Somali-Swedish Girls - The Construction of Childhood within Local and Transnational Spaces
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores diaspora experiences among Somali-Swedish parents and their daughters where the girls are enrolled in a Muslim-profiled school. The thesis uses migration theory with a transnational perspective, with findings that depart from the traditional view of migrants’ rootedness in a single country. It adopts the new paradigm for the sociology of childhood, where childhood is regarded as a social construction and children are considered to possess agency and competence. Anthony Giddens’s structuration theory and its main concept ‘duality of structure’ was employed as a theoretical tool. Methods that were used were participant observation, interviews (individual and in group) and analysis of essays.

The thesis consists of three studies. The first study explores how Somali-Swedish parents explain their choice of a Muslim-profiled school for their children. The results refute the traditional view that such choices are solely faith-based, showing faith as important but not determining. Important factors were finding a school that met their high educational ambitions and  made both parents and children feel trusted, safe and not disrespected because of their faith and skin-colour.

The second study explores transnational experiences, particularly the transfer of transnational practices from the Somali-Swedish parents’ to their children and the construction of a transnational social space, built on close global relationships. The results show that transnational practices are feasible irrespective of physical travel. The study also exemplifies the group’s readiness to relocate between countries by the onward migration from Sweden to Egypt, and implications for the children are illuminated. Somalis in diaspora often explain their propensity to move by their past nomadic life-patterns, but this study shows as strong factors the desire for better opportunities in combination with experiences of cultural and economic marginalisation in the West.

The third study analyses how girls in grade 5 (about eleven years old) imagine their future career and family life by analysing essays. The findings reveal that their dreams are both consistent with the expectations of their families (in particular, high educational ambitions) and inspired from elsewhere (particularly in terms of future family life). How the girls imagine their adulthood could be seen as an example of how their original culture is subject to change in a new environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University , 2016. , 136 p.
Keyword [en]
Somali diaspora, Somali-Swedish girls, Childhood sociology, School choice strategies, Muslim-profiled schools, Transnational social spaces, Transnational communities, Social constructionism, Duality of structure, Family Change Theory
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132312ISBN: 978-91-7649-482-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-132312DiVA: diva2:955203
Public defence
2016-10-14, Nordenskiöldssalen, Geovetenskapens Hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2016-09-21 Created: 2016-08-07 Last updated: 2016-09-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Somali-Swedes' Reasons for Choosing a Muslim-Profiled School - Recognition and Educational Ambitions as Important Influencing Factors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Somali-Swedes' Reasons for Choosing a Muslim-Profiled School - Recognition and Educational Ambitions as Important Influencing Factors
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article is about school choice strategies among a group of Somali-Swedes at a Muslim-profiled compulsory school. The study explores whether there are other reasons behind school choice than the school’s faith profile, and the findings concludes that for the group in question it is also important to find a school in accordance with high educational ambitions and where they can feel that they are recognized and not disrespected because of their faith, culture and skin-color. The lack of cohesion that Muslim-profiled schools are alleged to cause seems to be something that occurs even before the Muslim-profiled school is chosen.

Keyword
Somali-Swedes, Muslim-profiled schools, school choice strategies, duality of structure, recognition
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132801 (URN)
External cooperation:
Available from: 2016-08-24 Created: 2016-08-24 Last updated: 2016-09-12Bibliographically approved
2. “Samira Doesn’t Live Here Any More”: Somali-Swedes’ mobility as transnational practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Samira Doesn’t Live Here Any More”: Somali-Swedes’ mobility as transnational practice
2014 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Migration Research, ISSN 1799-649X, E-ISSN 1799-649X, Vol. 4, no 3, 118-125 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores transnational experiences within a group of Somali- Swedes, particularly how parents’ transnational practices are transferred to their children and how a transnational social space, built on close relationships on a global scale, is constructed. The readiness to relocate between countries and the implications for the children is illuminated. The onward migration to Egypt is highlighted as an example. According to research on Somalis in diaspora, they explain their propensity to move by claiming to be nomads, but this article indicates that it is also about their desire for better opportunities in combination with the cultural and economic marginalisation experienced in the West.

Keyword
Somali-Swedish children, transnational generation, nomadic heritage, onward migration, Egypt
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108447 (URN)10.2478/njmr-2014-0014 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-10-26 Created: 2014-10-26 Last updated: 2016-08-25Bibliographically approved
3. Imagined adulthood under transition - Somali-Swedish girls' life-planning in a late modernity context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Imagined adulthood under transition - Somali-Swedish girls' life-planning in a late modernity context
2014 (English)In: Gender and Education, ISSN 0954-0253, E-ISSN 1360-0516, Vol. 26, no 4, 432-447 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines how Muslim girls of Somali origin raised in Sweden imagine their adulthood in regard to career and family life. The theoretical framework is social constructionist in that it assumes that children have agency and are capable and competent actors, in contrast to what has previously been generally assumed about children from ethnic minorities, particularly Muslim girls. The qualitative study consists of an analysis of girls’ essays. The findings reveal that their dreams are both consistent with the expectations of their families (in particular, high educational ambitions) and inspired from elsewhere (particularly in terms of future family life). How the girls imagine their adulthood may be seen as an example of how their original culture is subject to change in a new environment that influences possibilities, the pace of detraditionalisation and the extent of individualisation, all of which are typical characteristics of a society in late modernity.

Keyword
Somali-Swedish girls, essays, transition to adulthood, life plans, social constructionism
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105698 (URN)10.1080/09540253.2014.930422 (DOI)000340187800007 ()
Available from: 2014-06-29 Created: 2014-06-29 Last updated: 2016-08-25Bibliographically approved

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