The Art of Choosing the Right Tram
The article "The art of choosing the right tram: Schooling, segregation and youth culture" by Thomas Johansson and Nils Hammarén was published in the journal Acta Sociologica in March 2011 54:45-59.
In this article, they study how young people with an immigrant background (first and second generation), which attend schools that can be considered more ‘Swedish’ experience the transition from a ‘multicultural district’ to the city centre. The empirical study was conducted in a large Swedish city, where the students attended two different programmes. In the analysis, we take a narrative approach, with student movements in time and space analysed in relation to concepts such as territorial stigmatization, alienation, bodily practices and identity positions. Findings show that the students often compare the city school with other schools — the city school described as a ‘white’ school, the other schools as ‘immigrant schools’. The different schools are clearly placed on a status hierarchy, with the city school at the top and other schools somewhere below. The students have confronted and succeeded in transgressing social and cultural boundaries. However, the feeling of otherness that originates in housing conditions, experiences of exclusion and the everyday life of many immigrants is transposed, so to speak, to the school area and transformed into strategies for handling exclusion and otherness.