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Knowing at work: A study of professional knowledge in integration work directed to newly arrived immigrants
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Social Pedagogy and Sociology. (LINA)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9792-7608
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Currently, new knowledge domains and professions emerge as a consequence of societal changes that transform that conditions for work and work integrated learning. Integration work directed to newly arrived immigrants is one example of such a new professional knowledge domain. In civic orientation, which is the empirical case in this study, quality, standardization and dialogue are explicit strategies that impact the planning, organization and decision-making in everyday work. The interest in this thesis concerns the professional knowledge that is developed in activities aiming to provide heterogeneous groups of immigrants an orientation in the Swedish society. By making activity systems the prime unit ofanalysis and scrutinizing the ways in which integration workers make use of a stipulated course material and interactions in a specific context, the aim is to contribute to the understanding of the pedagogical and communicative knowledge that is developed in practice. The analytical approach takes its point of departure in a socio-cultural perspective on workplace studies. Three separate studies have been carried out in which the empirical data consist of observations,interviews, video recordings, field notes and documents from various integration offices.The results show that different perspectives on knowledge and culture becomes relevant in local discourses on quality in integration work. What distinguishes the integration workers professional knowledge concern seeing and understanding the heterogeneity of immigrants' cultural backgrounds and bridging boundaries.Culture function as an organizing element in work that makes it possible to make distinctions and organize a contextually relevant content that can be elaborated together with the members in the groups. Such work imply transformation of procedures and it is shown that the integration workers develop their knowledge from specific situations to understand the significance of textually mediate dimeanings in other situations. Knowledge is developed as the integration workers move between different situations and activities. It is concluded that the meaning-making involved in bridging between different cultural contexts relies on extensive knowledge in and about the recognition of the other and of interactions based on equal grounds. Negotiating agreements with the members of the groups about how common possibilities and responsibilities can be understood is central for respecting heterogeneity in the process and is at the core of the integration workers professional knowledge. Considering the future development of integration work, cumulative structures are needed that recognize and support the development of the integration workers professional knowledge within as well as between organizations and other related fields of practice and in relation to higher education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: University West , 2016. , 118 p.
Series
PhD Thesis: University West, 9
Keyword [en]
Professional knowledge, integration work, civic orientation, work integrated learning, meaning-making, standardization, quality, cultural brokers
National Category
Pedagogy Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Work Integrated Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-9808ISBN: 978-91-87531-34-7 (Print)ISBN: 978-91-87531-35-4 (PDF)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-9808DiVA: diva2:955770
Public defence
2016-09-23, C118-120, Trollhättan, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-07 Created: 2016-08-26 Last updated: 2016-09-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Dimensions and perspectives of quality in integration work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dimensions and perspectives of quality in integration work
2016 (English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Social work organizations are faced with rapid changes that increase demands on quality and quality assessment. Before deciding how to assess quality, it is necessary to define what quality means with regard to a specific activity.Defining what is meant by quality is especially important before assessing the quality of integration activities developed for new immigrants. To address these issues, this study focuses on the concept of quality with respect to the efforts made to support immigrant integration in Sweden, through an activity called civic orientation. The data consist of interviews, observations, and video recordings of personnel working in an integration office. The results show how quality is manifested: firstly, in organizational structures for supporting and developing practitioners' knowledge; secondly, in standardized methods and material, and thirdly, in recognizing and attending to individual differences andthe sense of cultural belonging in daily interactions. One conclusion is that the knowledge of the integration workers – seeing and understanding the heterogeneity of immigrants' cultural backgrounds and bridging boundaries – isvital to the quality of civic orientation. That knowledge is central to the future organization of integration work, but could become invisible with a one-sided emphasis on standardization in quality work.

Keyword
Quality, Integration work, Civic orientation, Cultural brokers, Standardization, Professional knowledge
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Work Integrated Learning; SOCIAL SCIENCE, Pedagogics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-9809 (URN)
External cooperation:
Note

Ingår i avhandling

Available from: 2016-08-26 Created: 2016-08-26 Last updated: 2016-08-26Bibliographically approved
2. Adapting standardised teaching material to suitlocal learning conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adapting standardised teaching material to suitlocal learning conditions
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Standards have become generic elements in welfare practices and are expected to facilitate procedures and secure a uniform service to all citizens. This study investigates the knowledge involved in making practical use of a standardized teaching material to meet a diversity of knowledge needs in an integration activity aiming to support newly arrived immigrants' participation in society.Through video observations, interviews and document studies, the sequential structuring of information is reorganized into narrative patterns that presuppose knowledge about how different pieces of information relate to one another, andhow they work together in relation to different cultural expressions. It is argued that the procedural knowledge and scope of action intrinsic in bridging between different boundaries is decisive for understanding the basic conditions necessary for how a standardized teaching material can support processes of meaning making in integration work.

Keyword
Standards, Standardization, Professional knowledge, autonomy, civic orientation, Integration work
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Work Integrated Learning; SOCIAL SCIENCE, Pedagogics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-9810 (URN)
External cooperation:
Note

Ingår i avhandling

Available from: 2016-08-26 Created: 2016-08-26 Last updated: 2016-08-26Bibliographically approved
3. Knowing in practice: the use of dialogue as a pedagogical method in integration work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowing in practice: the use of dialogue as a pedagogical method in integration work
2015 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Migration Research, ISSN 1799-649X, E-ISSN 1799-649X, Vol. 5, no 4, 168-176 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study analyses dialogue as an aspect of professional knowledge when integration workers are orienting newly arrived immigrants about Swedish society and everyday life in an integration activity called civic orientation. The data consists of interviews with integration workers and observations of classes in Sweden. The results show that using dialogue involves knowing how to mobilise a contextual foundation for mediating between different experience-based meanings and how to re-contextualise information, which requires skilful handling of various knowledge sources. To bridge between standardised information and contextually relevant meanings is central in integration processes and here, dialogue could support future integration work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Walter de Gruyter, 2015
Keyword
Professional knowledge; dialogue; meaning making; integration work; civic orientation
National Category
Learning
Research subject
Work Integrated Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8781 (URN)10.1515/njmr-2015-0025 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-12-11 Created: 2015-12-11 Last updated: 2016-08-26Bibliographically approved

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