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Exploring Misery Discourses: Problematized Roma in Labour Market Projects
Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5624-2576
2016 (English)In: European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, ISSN 2000-7426, E-ISSN 2000-7426, ISSN 2000-7426, Vol. 7, no 1, 25-40 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to analyse learning practices in labour market projects cofinanced by the European Social Fund (ESF) targeting unemployed Roma in Sweden. The empirical material consists of 18 project descriptions from ESF projects, as well as national and European policy documents concerned with the inclusion of the Roma in contemporary Europe. The contemporary empirical material is analysed in relation to a government report from 1956 concerning the ‘Roma issue’ in Sweden. The analytical perspective of the study is governmentality, and the analysis focuses on different kinds of problematizations and the discursive positioning of the Roma subjects. One of the main findings is that unemployed Roma are situated in various discourses of misery and constructed as in need of reshaping their subjectivities in order to become educable as well as employable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. Vol. 7, no 1, 25-40 p.
Keyword [en]
Learning, adult education, employability, roma, governmentality
National Category
Learning Work Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126365DOI: 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela9071OAI: diva2:917036
Available from: 2016-04-05 Created: 2016-03-23 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

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Vesterberg, Viktor
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REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and SocietyFaculty of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Social and Welfare Studies
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