Blatte betyder kompis : Om maskulinitet och språk i en högstadieskola
Sammanfattning: The thesis deals with masculinity and language among a group of teenage boys. Based on a year’s fieldwork at a compulsory school in a suburb of Stockholm, the study focus on how language is used to “perform” masculinity and how the stereotype of the “immigrant youth” emerges in daily communication. Inspired by contemporary theoretical work on gender and performativity, the thesis argues that the “immigrant youth” is a subject position that emerges through the intersection of two related kinds of phenomena: (a) what particular individuals do with language, and (b) the attitudes and practices about “immigrant young men” that circulate in society and get communicated in the school environment. There is an ongoing Swedish public debate about youths in multiethnic suburbs speak poor Swedish and use inappropriate language. The thesis takes a critical stance toward the essentializing and moralizing dimensions of that debate. It explores how discussions about “suburban youth slang” and “sexist language” contribute to stereotypes about “immigrant youth” that demonize young men from immigrant backgrounds, even as they subtly work to establish the superiority and desirability of middle class ethnic Swedish culture and people. In addition, the study examines the way in which the communicative practices that circulate in the school highlight particular masculine position that is relevant to “immigrant male youth” in its absent presence; that position being the “fag”. The omnipresent threat of the “fag” works in particular ways to construct both a normative Swedishness and a normative heterosexual masculinity. These stereotypes emerge as important boundaries for what should not be said or done in everyday school life. The thesis examines the role of different categorizations in school life, and how those categorizations are used in a variety of contexts. A main point is that there are no fixed meanings of words as “immigrant” or “blatte” (darkie/immigrant). The labels or idenitities may be used in processes of exclusion, but they are also in order to establish social relations and friendships among boys.
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