kristina gustafsson

New article investigates the asymmetries associated with child language brokering in Swedish welfare institutions.

Group interviews with (a) people who, as children, experienced language brokering and (b) public service professionals who used children as brokers in encounters with non-Swedish speaking service users are analyzed. Results show that both groups consider that resorting to child language brokering is wrong but at the same time they reproduce this social practice and see benefits in it. This ambiguity leads interviewees to lay responsibility on several levels: the parents who place unreasonable demands on their children; the public service professionals who allow children to take on responsibility in precarious situations, and society at large that may be accomplice to structural discrimination of non-Swedish speaking service users. The responsibilities identified by interviewees in their narratives are critically discussed in relation to the concept of structural complicity showing how power relations and social structures create situations where individuals act with complicity even when they do something that they consider to be a good solution to an imperative problem and to which they do not see any alternatives.

Kristina Gustafsson:

Child language brokering in Swedish welfare institutions. A matter of structural complicity?

Translating Asymmetry - Rewriting Power