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Negotiating achievement: Students’ gendered and classed constructions of (un)equal ability
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research. Mälardalen University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6201-9135
2014 (Swedish)Conference paper, Presentation (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Educational institutions are structured around achievement: improving,evaluating and comparing students’ achievements. Stratification processes are,though, not just about cognition but about social processes and affect:negotiations of values and causes of achievements. In company with otherNordic countries, Sweden has long been associated with equality – not least ineducation. Many statistics now point to a negative comparative change bothover time and compared to other countries. Increased differences are primarilyconcerning school and student categories in terms of class and “race”, whilstgender stratification has been more of a focus for policy debates.The paper aims to examine privilege via analyses of peer-group interactionsamong a student category that is rarely problematised: an ethnographicallyinformed doctoral study on young men’s identity negotiations in Swedishupper secondary school, with special attention to a setting structured by highperformanceand white, upper middle-class students. Identification processes,social categorizations (e.g. gender, class and age) and dominance-relationswere studied as micro-processes, and placed in the context of equality/equityand education. Both young men and women in the study drew attention todominance relations among peers in class and hierarchies between schools andstudy programs. Though the students questioned the legitimacy of suchidentity claims and hierarchies, the latter were often reproduced and mademeaningful in terms of unequal educational and social ability (resources).Being ascribed as a high-achieving pupil due to natural abilities, not just effort,facilitated peer-group status.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Sociology of Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-244195OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-244195DiVA: diva2:788034
Presentation at the session "Ojämlikhet och jämlikhet i skolan", Arbetarrörelsens forskningskonferens, April the 3rd–4th, Runö
Available from: 2015-02-12 Created: 2015-02-12 Last updated: 2016-03-17

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Nyström, Anne-Sofie
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