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“’Are you going to write as we think or as you think?’ On Troubled Subject Positions among Immigrant Women in a Swedish Context”.

Chapter in book
Authors Marie Carlson
Published in Inga Brandell, Marie Carlson & Önver Cetrez (Eds) Borders and Changing the Boundaries of Knowledge. Transactions Vol 22, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Stockholm.
Pages 109-127
ISBN 978-91-978813-3-3
Publisher Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Stockholm
Place of publication Stockholm/Istanbul
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Pages 109-127
Language en
Keywords critical intersectional discussion, migration/ethnicity, representational power, gender/class, language courses for immigrants, "Swedishness"/Middle East
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Gender Studies, International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Middle East


"Are you going to write as we think or as you think?" – On Troubled Positions, Borders and Boundaries among Immigrant Women in a Swedish Context Abstract The aim of this contribution is to discuss representational power and images/concepts Turkish women attending Swedish language courses for immigrants (SFI) experience in accounts about them as migrants in Sweden. Examples from the past but also from the present will be used – from a still ongoing debate on troubled positions, borders and boundaries among/about immigrant women in a Swedish context. Empirical data (mainly interviews and policy documents) consist of revisiting an earlier study from 2002, but also data from later projects will be used. In addition to this other research has been reviewed relevant for the critical intersectional discussion concerning ethnicity/migration, gender and class; research related to e.g. cultural-, migration-, ethnicity- and gender studies. A sociocultural perspective and a postcolonial point of departure will be used. Three themes will be discussed; one is about social interaction and negotiating of ethnicity from an interview illustrating how the interviewee as well as the interviewer are caught in prevalent discourses and try to handle the straightjacket of labelling. Next theme is about gender, gender equality, “Swedishness” and nation, where SFI can be seen as an arena for educating the participants about gender equality. The last theme focuses on the institutional level, the welfare state and the power of definitions. This section also discusses how the category “immigrant” including “the immigrant woman” are constituted and negotiated in relation to the labour market. Structural conditions as well as agency are not always considered or problematized in these discussions. Taken together, the article can be seen as a critical reflection on the production of knowledge that researchers as well as various actors are involved in. This is both an ethical and methodological issue that will also be developed in the concluding discussion.

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