Doktorsavhandling, 2017
Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier

Avhandlingens syfte är att belysa och analysera en grupp irakiska ungdomars möte med den svenska gymnasieskolans introduktionsutbildning för nyanlända. Mer specifikt är Hassan Sharif intresserad av att med utgångspunkt i ungdomarnas sociala, utbildningsmässiga och språkliga tillgångar samt dispositioner och migrationserfarenheter analysera hur eleverna förhöll sig till och såg på introduktionsutbildningen på gymnasienivå och dess betydelse för deras fortsatta studier och etablering i det svenska samhället.


This thesis is about 16 newly arrived students from Iraq enrolled in the introductory programme for newcomers, in two Swedish upper secondary schools during the academic year 2010/11. The study focuses on the newly arrived students’ possession of cultural, social, educational and linguistic capital and their migration experience as well as their plans for future studies. The theoretical framework is based on the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER). Of crucial importance is the sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad, who bridges Bourdieu and migration studies. Also, general sociological concepts like class, gender and ethnicity are used. Traditional ethnographic approaches such as observations, informal conversations and interviews are the main methods.

The empirical results show that the newly arrived students have varying degrees of inherited assets, although the majority came from more affluent backgrounds. They also differed with regard to their school background. The ones who went to public schools in Iraq described the Iraqi educational system as authoritarian institution in which they had to conform to collective norms and values. Those who went to private international schools reported that their schools were similar to those in Sweden, but significantly more demanding. The youths also had assets that had little value in the Swedish educational system. One example is the ability to speak several languages like Arabic, Kurdish, Syriac and Chaldean.

Newly arrived students usually have no experience of the Swedish school system and cannot speak Swedish. This limitation defines them as a disadvantaged group when they enter the Swedish educational system, in programmes specially designed for them. Furthermore, the newly arrived students are spatially and symbolically segregated from other students and are thus poorly integrated in into the schools’ ordinary activities. The newly arrived students quickly become aware of that they do not master the language and that they are not familiar with the study norms and roles in Sweden. However, the students express high educational aspirations and emphasize education as a key factor in achieving respectability. Or, in Bourdieu’s sense, success in the Swedish educational system represents symbolic capital, for the Swedish born population as well as for as members of their own ethnic group.