Per-Åke Rosvall

Per-Åke Rosvall
Umeå University | UMU · Department of Applied Educational Science

Doctor of Philosophy

About

49
Publications
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Introduction
I work in the field of sociology of education with focus on class, gender and ethnicity. I am currently working on school transitions and school to work transitions and vocational education. Even though I have a general interest in those questions, latley I have been involved in projects focusing on place and migration.

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
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Previous research presented in this journal and elsewhere has suggested that vocational education is highly gender segregated and it is the heavy industrial sectors such as industry, vehicle and construction programmes that mainly attract boys with an anti-school attitude who are not interested in academic school work. However, there are good reaso...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we examine how the academic–vocational divide is manifested today in Finland, Iceland and Sweden in the division between vocationally (VET) and academically oriented programmes at the upper-secondary school level. The paper is based on a critical re-analysis of results from previous studies; in it we investigate the implications of th...
Article
Successful social and economic integration into Swedish society increasingly demands a post-compulsory education, but such education is increasingly centralised, posing problems for rural young people. To help efforts to address such problems, this article considers social codes and resources that may influence rural young peoples' trajectories to...
Article
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This article reports results of an ethnographic study of how girls are positioned, and position themselves, in relation to gender regimes in three vocational programmes in Swedish upper secondary education: Restaurant Management & Food, Health & Social Care, and Vehicle & Transport. The comparison shows that there are different possible feminine po...
Article
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Sweden may be wealthy, but uneven distributions of resources still affect students’ access to higher education and career choices. Some variation is linked to rural/urban divides, but myriads of other factors may also influence young people’s options in transitions. Here I explore these issues, using data collected from interviews with study and ca...
Article
This paper discusses how Bernsteinian concepts (‘pedagogic rights’, ‘discursive gaps’ and ‘pedagogic code’) from the field of sociology of education can be used as didactic tools to illuminate how different ways of organising teaching in VET has implications for citizenship preparation. The paper is based on results from a five-year research projec...
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The research sought to explore why, seemingly counterintuitively, students requiring additional support in rural Swedish areas might experience more successful transitions than students in some less rural locations.
Article
This article focuses on how local institutions in three rural areas in Sweden organised education and work to assist adult immigrants’ integration. We particularly analyse how local officials in educational institutions, employment offices and local governments attempted to support adult immigrants’ education-to-work transitions, using a theoretica...
Article
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Students in vocational education may experience situations during on-the-job training in which power relations are strongly manifested, with considerable potential for learning about democracy that have been far from fully explored. Thus, here we analyse how Swedish vocational education and training (VET) students perceived and experienced power re...
Book
Yrkesämnena och yrkesläraren befinner sig i skärningspunkten mellan utbildning och yrkesliv. Inom yrkesprogram finns en stark tradition av att innehållet är tydligt kopplat till arbetsplatspraktiker och undervisningen sker genom specifika moment och arbetsuppgifter. Som en följd av detta har demokrati- och medborgarfostran ofta hamnat i skymundan,...
Chapter
I detta kapitel problematiserar vi myten om den praktiske yrkeseleven, det vill säga föreställningen om en skoltrött elev som i huvudsak är intresserad av ”praktik”, med ett jämsides ointresse för ”teoretiska” kunskaper. Kapitlet består av tre delar. I den första delen ges en historisk bakgrund till delningen mellan ”det intellektuella” och ”det ma...
Article
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Sweden is known for strong traditions of gender equality and liberal attitudes to variations in sexual orientation. However, the Swedish labour market is strongly gender-segregated and LGB individuals have more difficulties finding employment than heterosexual peers. Thus, Sweden provides an interesting case for studying gender orders and sexual no...
Article
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Through a cross-national analysis of Iceland and Sweden, we investigate How are the two countries’ national and local educational systems ensuring access to education and social inclusion of immigrants and refugees? How do immigrant and refugee students talk about their agency in their classrooms, schools, and peer communities in rural contexts? Ou...
Article
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Mental health problems are increasingly common risk factors for chronic pain, while stressors in school are associated with persistent and recurrent pain among students, and negatively associated with educational achievements. Clearly, it is important to identify elements that influence frequencies or intensities of mental health problems. To assis...
Article
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Previous studies of citizenship preparation in upper secondary school, including studies on vocational programmes, have primarily focused on general subjects. Potential and actual roles of vocational subjects in this context have received little attention, so we have little knowledge of what is likely a significant part of the citizenship preparati...
Article
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Chronic pain and its consequences are major global health challenges, and the prevalence is increasing worldwide among adolescents. Adolescents spend most of their waking hours in school; however, there is limited research available on how school nurses can address chronic pain among adolescents in the Swedish school context. Therefore, we designed...
Article
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Background: This article presents an analysis of how critical thinking is contextualised in everyday teaching in three vocational education and training (VET) programmes: Vehicle and transport, Restaurant and management, and Health and social care. Purpose: The main question addressed is: What knowledge discourses permeate different VET-contexts,...
Article
The five articles in this special issue present studies focusing on two key aspects of vocational education and transitions in the Nordic countries in relation to social justice: (a) impacts of policies and reforms on transitions and (b) content, practices, curriculum and equality. Collectively, the articles outline important similarities and diffe...
Article
The age at which young people leave education for the labour market has increased in recent decades, and entering upper secondary education has become the norm. As a result, the diversity of the student population has increased, for instance in terms of students’ academic merits and achievements at school. Increased diversity seems to affect vocati...
Article
Recurrent pain and school failures are common problems in children visiting the school nurses office. The overall aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between recurrent pain and academic achievement in school-aged children. Literature was searched in seven electronic databases and in relevant bibliographies. Study selection,...
Article
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Surges of migration into Sweden and other European countries have raised needs to adjust civic education to provide Bernsteinian pedagogic rights of enhancement, participation and inclusion, both generally and in VET specifically. However, associated issues have received little research attention even in countries with colonial histories and longer...
Article
Educational equality has been a central tenet framing educational policy in Nordic welfare states and stimulating school reforms in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the conceptualisation of equality has fluctuated, reflecting the changing economic and political climate within which policy statements have been made. In this article, we analyse policy a...
Article
Based on ethnographic fieldwork in six different types of rural area and their schools in different parts of Sweden, this article identifies how rural schools relate to the local place and discusses some of the educational implications from this. Recurrent references to the local community were present in some schools and people there explicitly po...
Article
There is little research into the career trajectories and occupational aspirations of rural youth with immigrant backgrounds in Europe. This article presents new research based on field observations and interviews with five young immigrants of Persian descent in one rural town in Sweden. The findings highlighted gender differences in how the resear...
Article
Sweden is internationally commended for a high degree of gender equality, but many divisions in Swedish society, including the labour market, disadvantage women. This paper addresses gendered divisions of preparation for civic participation in the vocational upper secondary national curricula, which may participate in reproduction of the pattern. I...
Article
This ethnographic study explores how rural lower secondary school students reflect on study and career choices, focusing on the choice between vocational and academic upper secondary programs. Applying a spatial perspective, we analyze individual students’ reflections about study and career choices within a variety of rural regions, and compare pat...
Article
A historical tension between a more general and a more specific focus in post-compulsory education is made visible in some educational systems by the division into more academic and more vocational programmes. Embedded in this tension are questions of social justice and the purposes of education. In addition, division into academic and vocational p...
Article
This article analyses what students attending four Swedish upper secondary school programmes with different social class profiles tried and wanted to influence in relation to mathematics teachers’ pedagogic practice and responses during the year 2008/2009. The theoretical framework is based on Bernstein’s theories regarding power and control. The a...
Article
Vocational education has a historical legacy of being low-status and aimed at producing skilled workers. Students with low marks in comprehensive school are still often guided to the vocational educational track. In this article we examine how mathematics teaching in a vocational educational context is framed (henceforth VET). Therefore, our aim wi...
Article
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Background There has been an increase of reports describing mental health problems in adolescents, especially girls. School nurses play an important role in supporting young people with health problems. Few studies have considered how the nurses’ gender norms may influence their discussions. Methods To investigate this issue, semi-structured interv...
Article
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p>Chronic pain is common among Swedish adolescents, and stress is an independent factor in the onset and persistence of chronic pain. When Swedish school nurses conduct their health dialogs they have a unique opportunity to find adolescents with chronic pain. The aim of this study was to explore school nurses’ and adolescents’ experiences of factor...
Article
A key feature of the Swedish upper secondary school reform of 2011 (GY11) is the new direction it sets out for the organization of vocational education (VET) and the role it plays in youths’ transitions from school to work. This study analyses the GY11 reform in terms of its impact on the organization of knowledge in VET and its implications for st...
Article
This article reports on the views of school nurses (n = 25) and students with recurrent pain (n = 24) in Sweden with regard to school-based pedagogic practices. A number of common categories with implications for pedagogic practice were identified by analysing qualitative interviews with these groups, using the coding techniques of grounded theory....
Article
Assessments for student influence? The aim of this article is to analyse the relation between assessments and student influence. This is done with examples from ethnographic material, with classroom observations and student and teacher interviews, by analysing two teachers’ pedagogic practices. The teachers were chosen since one teacher, in the int...
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In this article, we use ethnographic data to explore school-based perceptions of racism. We draw on the findings of a one-year study conducted in two upper secondary classes in a Swedish school. The starting point of the analysis was student discussions of racism in the school and the surrounding neighbourhood, which prompted an examination of teac...
Article
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Research material from ethnographic studies of vocational upper secondary educational programmes in Finland and Sweden presented here indicates that the discourse of schoolwork as being either theoretical or practical is firmly fixed. However, the students on the researched programmes were aware of recent changes in the labour market that raise a n...
Article
This article draws upon an ethnographic analysis of classroom talk in a first year upper secondary Social Science class. It was noted that some students said that they were more silent in upper secondary school compared to secondary school and that in the transition between schools classroom talk became problematic and marginalising for them. This...
Article
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I föreliggande artikel analyseras den pågående gymnasiereformen (Prop 2008/09:199, SOU 2008:27) utifrån dess innebörd för kunskapers organisering i de yrkesorienterade utbildningarna. För att diskutera reformens möjliga konsekvenser analyseras den i relation till befintliga praktiker i en fordonsprogramsklass. Problemet som står i fokus är den ojäm...
Article
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This article is based on ethnographic studies in the context of vocational education: two in Sweden and one in Finland. The Swedish data originate from the Vehicle programme and the Child and Recreation programme; the Finnish data originate from the social and health-care sector. In this sense, the authors' perspective is cross-cultural. The articl...
Article
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The transition from secondary to upper secondary school often means a higher level of responsibility for the student. Moreover, the concept desirable citizenship is even more important today in the era of educational restructuring and neo-liberal orientation that emphasises individualised responsibility. In this paper, we explore how young people d...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
This project concerns the opportunities to strengthen the educational and profes-sional chances for students without complete grades from compulsory school, a group running high risk of future social exclusion.
Project
The Help Overcoming Pain Early (HOPE) approach contains four sessions of person-centered health dialogues with the adolescent during a period of six weeks. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of the HOPE approach on the adolescents’ self-reported self-efficacy.
Project
Most research on civic education is in the general subjects, often focusing on social science. Research in vocational education and training (VET) programmes in upper secondary school is no exception. However, Swedish policy in vocational education goes in the direction towards more workplace-like education and most courses in the VET curriculum has a direct connection to future work. This project aims to develop an understanding of how education towards critical thinking is made available for the vocational students in the work oriented courses of VET. The main interest concerns the possible and actual role of educational content in enabling students to an understanding of their own position in larger structures; teaching in processes of influence (argumentation, participation in associations and unions) and education towards identity development in those subjects. The methodology rests on policy ethnography in order to generate knowledge concerning (i) the extent and nature of the learning processes that can be characterized as civic education in VET programmes (ii) what actors are involved in these activities (students, teachers, school, workplace training etcetera) (iii) how young people acquire and value the civic educative processes, and (iv) to what extent and why (i) and (iii) vary between program and school context. The projects acknowledges variables as social background, gender and knowledge traditions through the sample and choice of theory. The problem investigated is situated between, on the one hand, socialization/conformation, and, on the other hand, change/emancipation. Our attention is directed to what forms of critical thinking that are made available to the students. Thus, we seek to investigate the occurrences of a content that enables the students to become active and autonomous subjects with means to influence of their life, work-place and society. The project relies on a selective ethnographic model where the pedagogic practice is investigated through classroom observations and interviews with students and teachers in three schools and three vocational programmes (six classes), and policy investigated thought analysis of the curriculum guidelines governing these programmes. The programmes are selected due to gender since it well known that traditional gender patterns steers students choices to vocational programmes and the gender dominance of a sex seems to develop quite different pedagogic practices, which might influence the content of their civic education. Observations are made in two week periods for each class, once in year 1 and one in year 2. In year 2 we also observe the practice in a selection of work-place training positions. In year three we observe the process of the final exam project work. In connection to the observations interviews are conducted with students and teachers. The design is made with the pursuit of being able to analyze possible progression in critical thinking and the actual and potential role of critical thinking in the work-oriented parts of the curriculum for VET programmes. It is of great importance to generate knowledge of the possibilities for VET students to access and acquire critical thinking in the work-oriented content that has come to increasingly dominate the curriculum for VET. So far this is unexplored. Without knowing how critical thinking is distributed through work-oriented subjects and practices, we have only partial understanding of civic education in upper secondary VET.