Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN30_02a: Education, gender and class
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Tarja-Riitta Tolonen, University of Helsinki
Location: GM.302
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Sisterhood and Respectability: Muslim Girls’ Perceptions of Sexual Harassment in an Urban Secondary School

Ylva Odenbring1, Thomas Johansson2

1Univeristy of Gothenbrug, Sweden; 2University of Gothenburg, Sweden

This study aims to explore how Muslim adolescent girls experience different forms of sexual harassment in school. The study draws on semi-structured interviews conducted in an urban secondary school located in one of Sweden’s most socially disadvantaged urban areas. The results reveal that the girls repeatedly experienced misogynist comments such as “whore” and “slut,” and were subjected to moral judgments connected to their manner of dressing and behaving. The girls’ narratives were also framed as tough girl femininity, which is related to how they had to show a tough façade against acts of harassment as well as other students at the school. When the name-calling became personal, the girls stuck together against the harassing boys and fought back verbally. The study contributes important knowledge about how adolescent girls perceive sexual harassment at school; this knowledge is important in efforts to create a safer school environment for all students.

“I Am No Longer Tough”. Minority Danish Boys Changing Paths in Danish Schools.

Laura Gilliam

Aarhus Universitet, Denmark

Based on fieldwork and interviews with boys of migrant background in various multi-ethnic Danish schools, this paper explores cases in which these minority Danish boys seek to opt out of their previous stigmatized positions as ‘bad boys’ and ‘troublemakers’ in school. Drawing on the concept of ‘figured identities’ from Holland et al. (1998), Bourdieu’s practice theory (1972, 1992) and Bakhtin’s dialogism (1935), it is described how the boys, supported by key others such as teachers, parents or peers, make an attempt at re-authoring themselves and hereby transgressing social and often ethnic boundaries. The paper argues that the boys, envisioning other futures, sketch out new identities and paths for themselves, by drawing on available cultural resources, scripts and practices. Yet their success depends precariously on how these attempts are ‘answered’ by others, and especially whether these others assess their adoption of linguistic and bodily practices and educational strategies as both appropriately authentic and ethnically appropriate for them. Looking at boys who succeed to make the change, it is argued that the presence of ‘co-travelers’ and convincing ‘voices’ help this re-authoring of selves. Yet, the racialization of body signs, the boys’ embodied practices, majority gatekeepers’ varying definitions of criteria for passing, and the burden of acting ‘integrated’ and ‘Danish’ in the peer group (cf. Fordham & Ogbu 1986), make up ‘invisible fences’ (Gullestad 2002) for the boys, showing the vast amount of barriers, which the boys face, as they try to do what parents, teachers and politicians urge them to.

Vocational Education Students and Labour Market Citizenship

Susanna Marja Ågren

Tampere University, Finland

This presentation introduces a critical perspective on the discourse about young people’s attachment to society. It is based on research which looks for new ways to strengthen youth’s social belonging in a rapidly changing late modern society. The current discussion around the NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training), demonstrates the over-emphasis that society places on young people entering the labour market. Additionally, it demonstrates the fear of the official system about how young people outside the labour market might burden society (Aaltonen & Berg 2015). As recent research has suggested, the fear creates problems by reflecting back to young people as feelings of unbelonging and anxiety (Gretschel & Myllyniemi 2017, Lögdberg, Nilsson & Kostenius 2018).

My argument is that the pressures young people are now competing with could be reduced by relieving the obligations of the labour market citizenship. Furthermore, I propose that alternative opportunities for operating in society might strengthen the well-being of young people. At the centre of the presentation is the concept of welfare citizenship which is based on the Capability Approach by Martha C. Nussbaum and Amartya Sen.

The presentation relies on research data collected from two vocational education providers (VET) in Finland. It gives a voice to VET students and presents their expectations and concerns about their transition to working life. The presentation aims to provide new insights into young people’s social belonging, suggesting that one way for constructing a more sustainable society might be by acknowledging the value of welfare citizenship.

Parental Influence on Students’ Educational Trajectories: Overemphasis on Academic Track at the Cost of Vocational Education

Heidur Hrund Jonsdottir, Kristjana Stella Blondal

University of Iceland, Iceland

Iceland´s participation in vocational educational programs is lower than in most other OECD countries. There is a strong emphasis on academic education in Iceland while vocational education is seen as a lesser option regardless of students’ strengths and interests. Family is one of the primary contributors to students’ education and majority of Icelandic parents prefer that their children choose academic track. Students in academic track at upper secondary school who liked vocational subjects better in compulsory school have been found to have lower levels of academic interest and being more at risk of dropping out. Iceland has a high rate of early school leaving and choosing a suitable track can be critical for school success.

Using both survey and registered data for approximately 2000 students, we explore the influence of parents’ educational emphasis when their child is in the 10th grade (end of compulsory school) on students’ trajectories at upper secondary school over three year period. We explore this relationship in light of students’ academic interest in the 10th grade.

We expect to find that students whose parents emphasize academic studies are more likely to choose academic track regardless of their academic interest. We expect the relationship to persist even after taking family background and gender into account as well as previous academic achievement which is a strong predictor for educational choice.

The study will contribute to our understanding of how to reduce early school leaving that is affected by choosing a stream that does not fit students’ academic interest.

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