Graphics: Linnea flowers

Doctoral project: Antiracism or Racism? – An interplay between ideas: a Swedish school example

Focusing on structural racism, this project examines the interplay and tensions between ideas about (anti)racism in the Swedish compulsory school.

Project information

Doctoral student
Sara Johansson Lopez
Andreas Nordin
Assistant supervisor
Bettina Vogt
Linnaeus University
Project start
Autumn 2023 - Spring 2028
Education Studies (Department of Pedagogy and Learning, Faculty of Social Sciences)

More about the project

Today, structural racism is seen as reproduced by capitalism in the era of neoliberalism and with an antiracist approach that fails to problematise different forms of racism, not least in the Swedish context. In this context, previous research has problematised the increased pressure on competition and how the selection of knowledge and restrictive curricula get negative consequences for equality and antiracism. Therefore, it is important not only to highlight how structural processes of racism continue but also to highlight how resistance, and attempts to change, are done.

Previous research has, more specifically, identified that institutions explicitly working for people’s equal worth and opportunities contribute to maintaining structural processes of racism, often unintentionally and with good intentions. These processes are maintained through ordinary, repeated, and normalised discourses often perceived as harmless and antiracist. There is also a tendency to avoid talking about racism and to deny contemporary racism, which, in turn, limits the understanding of different forms of racism.

This doctoral project aims to critically examine the interplay and tensions between ideas about (anti)racism. The project focuses on ideas manifested in structural processes in compulsory school and on how students talk about (anti)racism. In the project, this interplay and these tensions between ideas are studied as a pedagogical process on different institutional levels, to contribute to the research field about limitations and opportunities to work with antiracism that arise in structural processes in a Swedish context. The project’s data consists of documents and policies from relevant authorities, as well as observations and interviews from a compulsory school.