The art of choosing the right tram – A study of urban segregation, choice of school and young people’s life plans
The article 'Konsten att välja rätt spårvagn En studie av segregation, skolval och unga människors studieplaner' (The art of choosing the right tram – A study of urban segregation, choice of school and young people’s life plans) by Thomas Johansson and Nils Hammarén was published in the journal Sociologisk Forskning 47 (1), 2010. The article is an EUMARGINS publications as well as a result of the research project 'Skola, valfrihet och integration (VR)' (School, freedom of choice and integration').
When discussing barriers to integration and young people’s choice of school, research often focuses on language skills, cultural capital, supportive environments and other more obvious, distinct and material aspects that have an impact on educational achievement. In the present study, we have instead chosen to look at how young immigrants construct their inner career landscapes and life-plans, and how this relates to their perception of ethnicity, neighbourhood and identity. The sample used here consists of altogether twenty individuals. The interviews were used to explore certain designated dimensions and processes. All interviews were conducted in the school environment, in classrooms and other locations. The students attended two different inner-city schools. A narrative-sociological approach is used in the analysis. The young people’s perceptions and narratives are analysed in relation to concepts such as: territorial stigmatization, identity, self-perception and modifications of life plans. The findings show that the feelings of otherness which originates in housing conditions, experiences of exclusion and the everyday life of many immigrants, are transposed into the school area and transformed into strategies and life plans.