Gränsland : Svensk ungdomsvård mellan vård och straff

Sammanfattning: Borderlands. Swedish youth care in the intersections of care and punishmentThis dissertation concerns staff working in special residential homes, or secure units, for boys and young men and, less specifically, the compulsory care of problematic teenagers. The study is based on interviews with staff members and participatory observations of daily practices at a compulsorycare institution. The empirical material is complemented by observations of learning situations and interviews with students and teachers in education of social pedagogy.The aim of the thesis is to map out and to analyse understandings of, and motivations for, compulsory care that is produced and sustained through articulations of residing teenagers, treatment practices and institutional staff in the daily work, and in staff narratives, at a secure unit for compulsory care. Three aspects of compulsory care are analysed: constructions of teenagers, of treatment practices and of subject positions or identity of staff.Concepts and ideas from a post-structural framework are used as theoretical tools to conduct analysis of the interviews and observations. Discourse, as well as a three-fold concept of logics, is central for the analysis. As a theoretical complement to the main analytical framework, perspectives from symbolic interactionism are used.The results of the thesis show that tensions and ambivalence characterise compulsory care for adolescents. Aspects of care as well as of punishment, for example, are both evident parts of the institutional work and narratives studied. The teenagers are alternately being constructed as children in need and as manipulative criminals: articulations that are made part of either a logic of care or a logic of punishment.Other tensions that are analysed as significant parts of institutional practices and subject positions are those of the biological and the social, theory and practice, and power and powerlessness. Age, gender and class are all significant parts in constructing subject positions for both teenagers and staff and in creating a division between the two groups. Such categorisations are articulated together in various ways in the different logics identified. These subject positions also have consequences for institutional interactions and for the institutional care provided in secure units.

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