JOURNAL ARTICLE (2024)


Lost Opportunities for Globalisation,

Digitalisation, and Socially Sustainable Education?


Special issue. Learning, Digitalisation, and Social Sustainability. Frontiers in Education/Communication/Technology. Eds: Sylvi Vigmo & Maria Bäcke.

In this article, we point to how the making visible of diverse linguistic, digital, and cultural competences can contribute to more sustainable and inclusive classroom contexts and future societies. Western notions of universal knowledge reproduces a western way of viewing the world and, as a result, this usually discounts alternative knowledge systems, which perpetuates inequality and may cause tensions in today’s diverse classrooms. Our 2022 pilot study, drawing on an online survey with more than 700 respondents and focus group interviews with 27 participants, indicates that for some multiethnic, multi-abled, and otherwise diverse upper secondary students underlying, often ethnocentric, norms of Swedish education create hurdles in educational contexts. Firstly, in the Swedish context, non-normative and often global experiences are not recognised at school. Secondly, topics addressed in the courses they take are primarily focused on aspects originating in a Swedish, Nordic, or Western tradition. Curricular policies and classroom practices must take lost opportunities, which we argue are not socially sustainable, into account as a more global and holistic approach when articulating what educational learning is supposed to be about, for, and for whom, and thus integrating learning, digitalisation, and social sustainability.

2024 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION (accepted)


Futures Imaginaries of Globalisation and Internationalisation in Education


Together with Amaia Ojer Sánchez (CEU Cardenal Herrera University, Valencia, Spain), Olga Yashenkova (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine), Adrian Alexandru Moșoi (Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania), and Eithne Knappitsch (Carinthia University of Applied Science, Villach Austria). The ICSD Conference on Sustainable Development: Solutions for the Future! September 19-21, 2024. Hybrid conference.


How do higher education students in five countries – Spain, Ukraine, Romania, Sweden, and Austria – envision the future from global and local perspectives?  In this contribution, we aim to facilitate solutions for the future by creating an educational model drawing on future scenarios (Ross, 2023) to explore students’ imaginaries of the future in the context of globalisation and internationalisation in education. This is facilitated by the international and Erasmus+ funded Global Teachers for a Sustainable Future (GTSF) project, with partners from ten different countries across three continents, which focuses on providing future teachers with the tools for integrating sustainable development and global citizenship education in their teaching.


Aligned with the GTSF’s mission, we seek to enable teachers to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values they need to become global citizens and agents for change, even when travel or exposure to diverse contexts is limited. As educators, how can we grapple with connections or disconnections, and navigate the intricate interplay between internationalisation and sustainability in education? Our project strives to bridge the gap between education and employment, endowing students with global competence and other key skills, including critical thinking, empathy, leadership, innovation, digital literacy, teamwork, and more. In pursuit of these objectives, we explore and discuss how teachers may engage students in the ‘not-yetness’ (Ross, 2023) and uncertainty of internationalisation and sustainability.

 

This intervention, conducted in spring 2024, involved group discussions and individual storytelling sessions with higher education students and teachers across the five aforementioned countries. The qualitative data gathered through these sessions were analysed thematically to identify common themes, challenges, and opportunities regarding sustainable internationalisation in education. Content analysis was employed to discern patterns and insights from the narratives, enhancing the depth of understanding regarding students’ perspectives.

 

Preliminary findings suggest a nuanced understanding among students regarding the interconnectedness of global issues and the importance of sustainable development. While students exhibited varying degrees of awareness and engagement with sustainability, overarching themes emerged, including the need for interdisciplinary education, cultural sensitivity, and proactive engagement with global challenges.


The integration of sustainability and internationalisation in education presents both opportunities and challenges. Educators must navigate the complexities of fostering global competence while addressing local contextual realities. By leveraging innovative pedagogical approaches and embracing uncertainty, educators can cultivate a generation of critical and systems thinkers equipped to address the multifaceted challenges of the 21st century.

 

This submission contributes to the ongoing discourse on sustainable internationalisation in education by providing empirical insights into students’ perspectives from diverse cultural contexts. In conclusion, further research and collaborative efforts are needed to develop comprehensive educational frameworks that promote sustainability, global citizenship, and meaningful engagement with the complexities of our interconnected world.

2024 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION (accepted)


Students’ Reading Strategies at Upper Secondary Level for Active Citizenship


Together with Susanne Smithberger and Sylvi Vigmo. SIG 10, 21 & 25 Conference, September 11-13, 2024. Bari, Italy.


The curriculum for Swedish in upper secondary school mentions "reading strategies" only in relation to the production of text types to master, not in terms of reading comprehension, which traditionally has been viewed as irrelevant at this level. However, upper secondary teachers highlight the need for such strategies as the concepts of doing learning, and learning equity, affect students’ future opportunities in becoming citizens (Olson, Fejes, Dahlström, Nicoll, 2015). Research in reading and writing didactics is relatively abundant for the early years of primary school but becomes sparser as students get older (Heyne, Gnabs, Lockl & Neuenhaus, 2023). Increased knowledge about the importance of reading comprehension in upper secondary school is needed for students to independently relate to the rights and obligations in a democratic society (Swedish National Agency for Education, 2011, p. 6).  

 

Theoretical perspectives include curriculum theory (Wahlström, 2023), theories of critical discourse theory (Fairclough, 2003; Dijk, 2016; Wodak & Meyer, 2016), and power (Foucault, 1993; Deleuze & Guattari, 1986). Acknowledging inherent hierarchal power structures in schools while simultaneously encouraging students’ critical thinking based on the comprehension of nuanced and reliable information increases engagement in an individual’s reading experience, and interaction with the text develops abilities such as being able to relate both intratextually to the content and intertextually to the world around us (Langer, 2010, Apple et al.  2020). In this proposal, our aim is to make visible the relationship and interaction between the lack of reading comprehension training for upper secondary students and how to learn to think critically for active citizenship. 

 

RQ1: How do upper secondary students describe their reading comprehension strategies? 

RQ2: What are the potential consequences of the lack of reading comprehension for students from the perspective of active citizenship 

 

An online survey on reading and reading comprehension at Swedish upper secondary level (conducted by us in Spring 2022 with EsMaker) generated 712 responses in a student body of 1,500 students at a school in southern Sweden. Students responded to statements and were given options to respond and elaborate on several open-ended questions. Our mixed method study included six follow-up focus group interviews with 27 students. The students’ programme specialisation profiles represented law, economy, behavioural science, and humanities (languages). Our sample consisted of students willing to participate after being informed by their teachers about the purpose of the study. From an inductive approach, we draw on Braun and Clarke (2006) for a thematic analysis of both the responses from the survey and from the semi-structured focus group interviews. 

 

Through our study, it became evident that the students learn how to make decisions on their own with the help of tools they have acquired outside of school. When students do not understand what they read for school, many of them prefer either to use a search engine or ask a friend to get information. If this does not make it clearer, they may first and foremost ask their parents. Several of them respond that they hesitate to ask their teacher, explaining that they are afraid that admitting not being able to understand might affect their grades negatively. When analysing their comments, it becomes evident that the students prefer to work with reading comprehension with the help of tools that are available to them outside of school.  

 

Teachers at upper secondary level indicate that students’ reading proficiency is decreasing and, as a result, measures previously only needed or warranted in lower age groups now become relevant also in upper secondary education. The older the students are, the more important a high proficiency in reading comprehension becomes – and since these students are adults or young adults, they are required to be able to perform in a democratic society, which relies on every citizen’s sound judgement and critical thinking. The students in our study show that the decisions they make often are based on skills gained from outside of the upper secondary school, not on what is being taught, which may lead to teachers having to reconsider their approaches. Drawing on curriculum theory, theories of critical discourse and power, we address a series of questions to suggest a response to how students ameliorate reading and democracy skills at upper secondary level: Do hierarchal power structures sometimes hamper the learning of reading comprehension?  Do upper secondary students’ progression towards independent and critical thinking and learning  – i.e. democratic skill-sets – suffer from the lack of reading comprehension? Is poorly developed reading comprehension teaching at upper secondary level jeopardising successful absorption of nuanced and reliable information?  

JOURNAL ARTICLE/EDITORIAL (2024)


Learning, Digitalisation, and Social Sustainability


Special issue. Learning, Digitalisation, and Social Sustainability. Frontiers in Education/Communication/Technology. Eds: Sylvi Vigmo & Maria Bäcke.


In research on sustainability, we see a bias towards environmental and, to a lesser extent, economic issues, with social sustainability rarely receiving significant attention. Against this backdrop, this special issue explores the interplay between learning – “the act or experience of one that learns… [the] knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study[, and the] modification of a behavio[u]ral tendency by experience (such as exposure to conditioning)” ­–, digitalisation – how people’s lives are transformed by new communication patterns and access to information requiring digital Bildung –, and social sustainability –a political definition highlighting issues of justice, equality and equity linked to various discrimination grounds on both international and national levels – from a range of communicative and learning perspectives using holistic research approaches. Learning, digitalisation and sustainability have rarely been studied in an integrated way on a larger scale, so the aim of this special issue is to address this gap highlighting how the perspectives intersect.


In all the articles in this special isue, digital technology has the potential to become a vehicle for inclusion and socially sustainable learning contexts, but several perspectives on digital divides are visible at the same time. These divides may appear due to the lack of knowledge on the part of teachers and/or students, be based on uneven technical access or financial resources, or be a result of regulations or mindsets that risk excluding certain groups of students. Together, all seven articles accentuate the necessity to critically engage with learning and digitalisation from the perspective of social sustainability.

JOURNAL ARTICLE (2024)


Lost Opportunities for Globalisation, Digitalisation, and Socially Sustainable Education?


Special issue. Learning, Digitalisation, and Social Sustainability. Frontiers in Education/Communication/Technology. Eds: Sylvi Vigmo & Maria Bäcke.


In this article, we point to how the making visible of diverse linguistic, digital, and cultural competences can contribute to more sustainable and inclusive classroom contexts and future societies. Western notions of universal knowledge reproduces a western way of viewing the world and, as a result, this usually discounts alternative knowledge systems, which perpetuates inequality and may cause tensions in today’s diverse classrooms. Our 2022 pilot study, drawing on an online survey with more than 700 respondents and focus group interviews with 27 participants, indicates that for some multiethnic, multi-abled, and otherwise diverse upper secondary students underlying, often ethnocentric, norms of Swedish education create hurdles in educational contexts. Firstly, in the Swedish context, non-normative and often global experiences are not recognised at school. Secondly, topics addressed in the courses they take are primarily focused on aspects originating in a Swedish, Nordic, or Western tradition. Curricular policies and classroom practices must take lost opportunities, which we argue are not socially sustainable, into account as a more global and holistic approach when articulating what educational learning is supposed to be about, for, and for whom, and thus integrating learning, digitalisation, and social sustainability.

DOCTORAL COURSE


Critical Discourse Studies


Distance course with synchronous meetings, in English, 7.5 credits,

50%, runs from Jan 25 - Mar 21, 2024.

Course contents:

  • Different types of discourse used in politics, the media, education and research

  • The relationship between text and context

  • Language of ideology and power

  • Analysis of speech, writing, images, and movies from political, ideological, and critical perspectives


2024 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Who holds the future?

Teachers’ work with students’ future thinking, sustainability & technology


Together with Anna-Lena Godhe and Ylva Lindberg. NERA, March 6-8, 2024. Malmö, Sweden.


In this presentation, we raise questions concerning how we as educators can grapple with connections, or perhaps rather disconnections, between digital technology and sustainability in education. Fervent activities to develop digital tools and digitalise societal sectors, including education, have until recently avoided sustainability perspectives that are not only ethical in nature, but also include energy infrastructures (McKenzie & Gulson, 2023) and the environmental impact that everyday digital activities have (Tiernan, 2023). Education research focuses either on the digital technology or on sustainability issues, and rarely considers the way they intersect (cf. Tiernan 2022). The question of sustainability and technology in education is urgent, as datafication, intensifications of data infrastructures, including increasing and diversified uses of artificial intelligence (AI), and automated processes at different levels will impact on students’ futures. Selwyn (2022) concludes that based on the environmental damage caused by such technologies, we may have to reassess the whole educational technology project.


Against this backdrop, we explore and discuss how teachers engaged with a learning adventure, wherein they designed a Futures Day to involve students in the ‘not-yetness’ (Ross 2023) and uncertainty of (digital) technology and sustainability. The initiative was motivated by teachers’ expressed need to get to learn about students’ imaginaries about the future, to further develop their educational programme regarding (digital) technology and sustainability. The learning adventure, carried out in spring 2023, focused on four classes in a technology programme of a Swedish upper secondary school.

It is discussed through theoretical inroads to problematize (dis)connections between sustainability and (digital) technology in education. This analytical lens explores how futures studies and ‘futuring’ activities with students supports critical thinking regarding (digital) technology and sustainability (Buch, Lindberg, C Pargman, forthcoming).  


Preliminary findings uncover how teachers can frame learning and instruction to include sustainability and (digital) technology through a focus on futures, and, thereby, explore uncertain skills and knowledge of tomorrow with students. Students’ stories point to sacrifices that need to be made in the future to sustain human life and planet Earth, which is in line with recent critical views in scholarly work, including the “dedigitalisation” of tomorrow (Monnin et al. 2018).


We argue that this is an area of research that is of relevance to the NERA-community since discussions of how to grapple with sustainable technology use in education are needed. The presented empirical findings explore one possible way to start this discussion.

Presentation of the CCD research environment

A new video clip for the Communication, Culture, & Diversity (CCD) website shot at the School of Education and Communication at Jönköping University.

2023 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Reading for Pleasure and Reading for School

Student Agency vs. Normative Curricula


Together with Sylvi Vigmo. EARLI, August 22-26, 2023. Thessaloniki, Greece.


Reading in today’s digitalised society is largely distinguished by multimodal texts that challenge traditional notions of what a text is or can be. The next generation must have competences not only to move between and across these spaces, but to impact the future (Burnett & Merchant, 2019). On a policy level, traditional literacies found in curricula are challenged by young people’s everyday life distinguished by “dynamic digital doings” (Vasquez, 2019). In educational settings linguistic competences are commonly and normatively divided into productive and receptive competences (CEFR). On a global scale, given the transforming consequences of digitalisation and language use, or languaging, reading competences need revisiting for a broader conceptualisation to capture reading as more than reception; texts are increasingly multimodal and readers interact with the “text” with agency. In addition, increased polarisation in today’s society, exemplified by fake news and disinformation, is omnipresent in young people’s lives (European Commission 2018; Mercenier, Wiard, & Dufrasne, 2021), and requires attention to critical literacy (Burnett, & Merchant, 2019; Vasquez, 2019), for social sustainability and for sustaining democratic values. Emanating from a collaboration with practicing teachers at a Swedish upper secondary school, and their experiences of challenges concerning their students’ reading, a survey was given to a student body of 1,500 students, resulting in 712 responses. With the aim of investigating students’ perspectives and reading in school, and out-of the curricula context, the survey also invited students to formulate thoughts on reading habits, experiences and personal views in several open-ended questions. The results indicate there is a gap between the reading norms in curricula, and the reading that occurs beyond “schooling”, not only regarding other media genres than fiction but also regarding how mandatory reading negatively impacts motivation and reading with pleasure. The survey results are discussed from perspectives on critical literacy and social sustainability.

2023 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Invisible and Unrecognised Global Citizenship and Diversity among Students at Upper Secondary Level


Together with Sylvi Vigmo. EARLI, August 22-26, 2023. Thessaloniki, Greece

A survey on reading at Swedish upper secondary level (conducted by us in Spring 2022) generated 712 responses in a student body of 1,500 students. As many as 41 languages were distributed among them and we were surprised to learn that the teacher team was largely unaware of the linguistic variety among students. Our aim then became to explore how students framed language skills, when and in what contexts these were used, and for what purposes. We conducted six follow-up focus group interviews with 27 students and it became evident that diverse linguistic backgrounds were not only invisible in the school setting, they were also downplayed by the students themselves, who sometimes seemed

to regard their language skills as inferior and drew on these informally only, often as a part of their everyday digital media use.

As students’ global citizenship remains unrecognised, we question the normative aspects of linguistic norms and their potential repercussions. The “uncritical reinforcement of notions of the supremacy and universality of ‘our’ (Western) ways of seeing… can reproduce unequal relations… and undervalue other knowledge systems,” warn Andreotti and de Souza (2008). Biesta (2020) questions what learning “is, what educational learning is supposed to be about and… for, and who should have a say” and highlights undervalued and “invisible” competences that remain

untapped by teachers and by the students themselves. In order to further social sustainability and hope, our aim is to make diverse linguistic, digital and cultural competences visible and contribute to discussions about more socially sustainable and inclusive classroom contexts, as well as advocate for curricular policies which take invisible languages and unrecognised globalisation, which we argue are not socially sustainable, into account as we point to how more global and holistic approaches can be implemented.

2023 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Invisible Languages and Unrecognised Globalisation

Linguistic Competence at Swedish Upper Secondary Level


Together with Sylvi Vigmo. AILA, July 17-21, 2023. Lyon, France


Diversity, linguistic variety, and global citizenship are often invisible and unrecognised in interactions between teachers and students. A survey on reading at Swedish upper secondary level (conducted by us in Spring 2022) generated 712 responses in a student body of 1,500 students. The question “Do you speak another mother tongue other than Swedish? If so, which?” brought surprising answers as we discovered that as many as 41 mother tongues were distributed among the 99 respondents who answered in the affirmative. The question used the concept of mother tongue, which is problematic since it potentially excludes “father tongues” and also does not take language variations into account. Four respondents list three languages or more as their mother tongues.  


Given the initial, but striking, results, we noticed the teacher team’s unawareness of linguistic variety in the student population. Our aim then became to explore how students framed language skills, when and in what contexts these were used, and for what purposes. We conducted six follow-up focus group interviews with 27 students. In these, we asked what languages the students speak (to avoid labelling their language to one parent and one language only, which excludes multilingual contexts (Bagga-Gupta & Ribeiro Carneiro)). It became evident that linguistic backgrounds were not only invisible in the school setting, they were also downplayed by the students themselves.


As students’ linguistic competences remain unrecognised, we question the normative aspects of linguistic knowledge and where this might lead. The “uncritical reinforcement of notions of the supremacy and universality of ‘our’ (Western) ways of seeing… can reproduce unequal relations of dialogue and power and undervalue other knowledge systems” (Andreotti & de Souza, 2008). Biesta (2020) questions what learning “actually is, what educational learning is supposed to be about and supposed to be for, and who should have a say in answering these questions” and highlights undervalued and, therefore, “invisible” competences that risk remaining untapped by those working with students and by the students themselves.


In this proposal, our aim is to draw on the above-mentioned dataset to make diverse linguistic, digital and cultural competences visible and contribute to more sustainable and inclusive classroom contexts and societies. Curricular policies, individual and collective commitment must take invisible languages and unrecognised globalisation, which we argue are not socially sustainable, into account as a more global and holistic approach is implemented, which integrates linguistic diversity.


Link to session:

https://aila2023.dryfta.com/program-schedule/program/215/symp56-open-call-minority-languages


Watch our pre-recorded video:

2023 JOURNAL ARTICLE

The Global North and the Global South Negotiations of Power

A Literary Discourse Study of Angola’s Agualusa and Ondjaki

Journal of Multicultural Discources.

Eds: Isabelle Léglise, Ana Deumert, and Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta. Taylor & Francis.

Over the centuries, the contact zones of transculturation moved from colonised land to Portuguese soil and again to that of the former colonised. Power structures are diffuse as Angola again becomes a site of ‘co-presence, interaction understandings and practices within hierarchised systems of dominance’, although Portugal no longer is a colonial power. Mapping transformed relationships by using a literary analysis and the sociocognitive approach within critical discourse analysis, this paper explores four literary works by Angolan authors José Eduardo Agualusa and Ondjaki as well as six related academic articles Through text analysis, this paper explores global south/north negotiations of power and hierarchy in the literary works of Agualusa and Ondjaki and in the academic scholarship, six articles, focusing on their work. It explores how both fictional and academic texts metaphorically, or quite literally, encourage the colonisers to leave their former colonies – the settlers ought to set sail – in effect turning these texts into acts of subversion aimed at a normative global north academic context and readership.

JOURNAL, SPECIAL ISSUE


Learning, Digitalisation,

and Social Sustainability


Frontiers in Education/Communication/Technology. Eds: Sylvi Vigmo & Maria Bäcke


Today we are constantly reminded of the polarization of contemporary society, an issue that is bound up with the challenges of consuming, interpreting, and participating in the daily digital media landscape – both from the perspective of learning, broadly conceived, and from that of social sustainability. In research on sustainability, however, we tend to see a bias towards environmental and, to a lesser extent, economic issues, with social sustainability rarely receiving significant attention. It is against this backdrop that this Research Topic, jointly hosted in Frontiers in Communication and Frontiers in Education, will explore the interplay between learning, digitalization, and social sustainability from a range of different communicative and learning perspectives.

Digitalization and sustainability are broad topics, and their importance is highlighted in educational curricula all over the world, but a holistic research approach to them is rare. Sometimes the focus is placed on learning and digitalization, sometimes on learning and sustainability, and occasionally on digitalization and sustainability, but learning, digitalization and sustainability have rarely been studied in an integrated way on a larger scale. In this Research Topic, we aim to address this gap in the literature from both education and communication-specific perspectives.

Both the United Nations (2021) and the European Union (2020) have launched digitalization initiatives, which have been framed against the backdrop of a need to reimagine, revitalize, and reset education to increase inclusiveness and accessibility. In addition, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by UN member states in 2015, ”recognize[s] that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change” (United Nations, 2015). There are few areas where these issues are brought together as strongly as in the educational sphere. The call for papers for this Research Topic welcomes contributions exploring the conjunction of learning, digitalization, and social sustainability, both in the context of today’s increasingly polarized digital communication spaces, and with respect to how they may be more thoroughly integrated in future.

2023 LECTURE & WORKSHOP

Power in the classroom

Teacher education, January 11, 2023, Jönköping University, Sweden

Spaces [structures or

relationships] could be characterised

as smooth or striated (Deleuze &

Guattari, 1986). Smooth space

is open, anti-authoritarian, flexible, but

also sometimes regarded as uncontrollable and unsafe, whereas striate space is

controlled, hierarchical, regulated,

but also, at least for some people,

too rigid and oppressive.

What is power? We hardly ever discuss power and power is primarily felt in our body, not openly discussed, which leads to people often not even having the vocabulary to discuss power structures. Michel Foucault argues that the “exercise of power and the experience of freedom are mutually exclusive” (1982, p. 790) and describes power as a “way in which certain actions modify others” (p. 788). Foucault also argues (1984) that the “technology of power” has been put to use by the authorities to discipline and control dissidents and disruptive elements in a context where hierarchical power structures are implemented. There is legitimate exercise of power, but also illegitimate, and it can be both constructive and repressive – sometimes at the same time. Gilles Deleuze and Felìx Guattari (1986) foreground the negotiation and subversion of power. They point to the possibility to influence and change power hierarchies, to find ways to create a smooth space, a level playing field in which individuals find or create greater autonomy. The opposite is striate space, which is controlled and regulated, where individuals have to adapt to that which has already been decided. A striate space resists change, whereas a smooth space relies on everything being possible to change. Gilles Deleuze (1988) sees power as a continuous development of strategic positions and argues that it is not homogeneous but can be defined only by the particular points through which it passes, in every spot where some type of negotiation – visible or invisible, spoken or unspoken – takes place. With the help of these theorists and four concrete examples from classroom practice, power is made visible in this lecture and workshop and the aim is to improve our ability to read power structures and, yes, talk about power.

2022 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION (in Swedish)


Tid och rum för tillit och akademikers gemensamma

lärande under pandemin

En autoetnografisk studie av transformerade och transformerande lärandepraktiker


Together with Sylvi Vigmo. NU2022 conference, June 15–17, 2022, Stockholm university, Sweden

Den oförutsägbara och totala digitaliseringen av högre utbildning har bidragit med erfarenheter vi kan förvänta oss påverka post-pandemiska akademiska praktiker. En sådan snabb och oplanerad utveckling förutsätter förändring och potentiellt omvandling. Sett ur ett perspektiv av akademisk utveckling och förändring, konceptualiseras förtroende som ett villkor (Pleschová, Roxå, Thomson & Felten, 2021), som innefattar följande tre dimensioner: förmåga, välvilja och integritet (ibid). Som forskarkollegor började vi arbeta tillsammans i slutet av januari 2020 och lyckades ha en handfull fysiska möten innan Covid-19-pandemin gjorde allt samarbete digitalt. Vi var båda vana vid distansundervisning och den masterkurs vi gemensamt undervisade på var redan planerad för detta. Mindre väntat var dock att gemensam planering, möten-efter-möten, all social interaktion och kollegialt lärande i såväl den fysiska som den digitala miljön flyttades till den digitala arenan. Paradoxalt nog blev de 280 kilometrarna mellan oss

mindre relevanta och en stark arbetsrelation, tillit och vänskap utvecklades även om vi inte träffades mellan mars 2020 och oktober 2021. I denna studie är målet att utforska hur våra gemensamma praktiker influerades av att distanskommunikation var det enda möjliga alternativet och hur vi lärde känna varandra som nya kollegor. Medan vi utvecklade ett nytt internationellt masterprogram, undervisade och samarbetade vi i interdisciplinära onlinemöten med andra forskare och kollegor med frågor både på meso- och mikronivå.

Vår undersökning fokuserar på de praktiker som utvecklades under pandemin och hur vi kan dra nytta av dessa. Inledningsvis intresserade vi oss för hur våra erfarenheter reproducerade eller stärkte akademiska praktiker, dvs vilka interaktioner som följde kollaborativa traditioner, vilka nya praktiker som utvecklades och vilka utmanades. Biesta (2021) menar att vi kan förstå kris som “en vändpunkt som efterfrågar omdöme” och vidare att

en kris kan bidra med perspektivtagande, dvs göra saker synliga från olika synhåll. Metodologiskt, närmar vi oss vår forskningsfråga genom en autoetnografisk lins (Adams, Holman Jones & Ellis, 2015), som vi använder för att navigera genom de praktiker vi upplevt under pandemin, och utforskar om dessa är

transformerade och transformerande, men i ett digitaliserat format. Autoetnografiska data genererad under vår digitala interaktion kan exemplifiera aspekter relevanta för undervisning och lärande och vi diskuterar kollegialt lärande tänkt att stötta lärares professionella utveckling. Analytiskt lutar vi oss mot kommunikation i bakre regioner (Goffman; 1959, Persson, 2012), och dimensioner av förtroende i kommunikation och kollaboration.


2022 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


A Space and Place for Workplace Collaboration and Trust during the Pandemic and Beyond?

An Auto-Ethnographic Exploration of Emergent Transformative Practices


Together with Sylvi Vigmo. Praxis IV conference, May 16–18, 2022, Gothenburg university, Sweden

 

As fellow researchers and lecturers, we began working together in late January 2020 and managed to have a handful of face-to-face meetings before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to move our collaboration online. Both of us were used to various distance education formats and the masters’ course we taught together that spring term was already intended to be carried out online. Less anticipated though were that the new aspects of our collaboration such as joint planning, after-seminar discussions, and ultimately also social interaction were moved to the digital arena. As this occurred, the 280 km separating us physically became less relevant and we began to build a strong work relationship, trust, and friendship even if we did not meet in person at all between March 2020 and October 2021. In this study, our aim is to explore how our collaborative practices were influenced by online as the only alternative over a longer period of time, and getting to know each other as rather new colleagues. As we were engaged in development of a new international masters’ programme, besides co-teaching, collaboration also included cross-disciplinary online meetings with other scholars and to some extent new colleagues, around issues on meso and micro level. Initially our research interest addressed the question of how our experiences might reproduce or reinforce scholarly practices, i.e. what practices in our interactions followed collaborative traditions and what new practices emerged? From a post-pandemic perspective traditions and practices in higher education have been challenged. Biesta (2021) argues we can understand crisis “as a turning point that asks for judgment”, and furthermore that a crisis can contribute with perspective-taking, i.e. making things visible from different views. The unforeseen total digitalisation of higher education has contributed with experiences that can be expected to impact post-pandemic scholarly practices. Such rapid and unplanned development assumes change and potentially transformation. From the perspective of academic development, and change, trust is conceptualised as a condition (Pleschová, Roxå, Thomson & Felten, 2021), that entails the following three dimensions: “ability, benevolence, and integrity” (ibid).


Methodologically, we approach our research question through an auto-ethnographic lens (Adams, Holman Jones & Ellis, 2015), which we use to navigate through the practices we have experienced during the pandemic, and explore whether these are reproduced but in a digitized format or whether we are engaged in transformed practices. This exploration entails questions concerning conducive spaces used, back-channelling, and dimensions of trust in communication and collaborations and aims to contribute to the symposium by illuminating the professional and private exchanges that enhance our ideas of space and place in the post-pandemic university.


2022 CONFERENCE PANEL

Agency, Policy, Literacy

Sustainable Digitalization in Swedish Schools and Theatres in the 21st century

Together with Johan Bäcklund, Lars Almén, Petra Weckström, and Rebecca Rouse. The GoPar conference, April 27–29, 2022, Jönköping university, Sweden.

As we consider digitalization and schools as well as digitalization and performing arts – what comes to mind? Digitalization, digital know-how, and the use of digital tools have become ubiquitous and even mandatory – indeed they are often portrayed as a self-evident means to increase participation-for-all and the democratic focus in schools and performing arts institutions alike – which leads to issues of agency, policy and literacy needing to be foregrounded.


This panel aims to discuss policies surrounding leadership autonomy in choosing what kind of technology to invest in, gauging to what extent further competence is needed, as well as studying how governing organs – and society – are pushing for digitalization. This panel discusses aspects of digitalization from school and performing arts perspectives – at first glance disparate sectors operating under very different conditions – to learn more about how representatives from the sectors navigate the digital landscape with an aim to reach beyond these specific sectors. Several questions arise, many related to agency, policy and literacy: What or who decides regarding digital tools and digital strategies in schools and theatres? How and why should we implement digital tools? Who should do it and why? What are we doing and why? What should we be doing and why? From whose viewpoint are digital tools being implemented?


The vision and knowledge of initiators of digitalization varies and there is sometimes a discrepancy between the viewpoints of technicians, decision-makers and users. Are the implications sustainable in goals as well as execution?

2022 JOURNAL ARTICLE


Resisting Commodification

Subverting the power of global tech companies


Special issue. LDaD, Languaging, Diversity and Democracy. Contemporary issues of participation and ways-of-being across the global North-South. Ed: Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta. Brill. 


This article explores the links between EdTech ownership and its potential effects on the users. It discusses language, diversity and democracy from the perspectives of power and subversion on an individual, social, national as well as international level. In our digitised world, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used everywhere. In schools all over the world the well-known, easy-to-use, and highly affordable Google Education is used, but is this a safe and sustainable solution? A number of services online are free in terms of users not having to pay any money for their usage, but many companies, of which Google is one, instead make their money from the exploitation of what is labelled non-personal user data, Big Data, which is harvested from the users of their free services. This type of data mining or data harvesting can be used for other purposes as well, such as for intelligence reasons, where a foreign power may capitalise on user data from another country, but it may also be to control a country’s own population. Asymmetrical power distribution is inevitable and, drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s theories of power and subversion, my aim is to increase the awareness of the non-monetary costs involved in the choice of ICTs and highlight ways to shift the inherent hierarchic power. A text analysis, based on policy documents and articles focusing on online privacy, data harvesting and user commodification, studies how legislators, journalists, as well as governmental and other organisations negotiate and sometimes subvert the hierarchic power of the global tech companies in order to protect privacy, integrity and democracy as well as the profit margin of companies. The paper highlights the need for legislation and education, an enhanced ICT literacy, in the field.

2021 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Discourse Analysis in the Teaching of English


The NERA conference, Nov 3-5, 2021, Syddansk universitet, Odense, Denmark

Drawing on a discourse historical approach when teaching the U.S. Declaration of Independence may seem overly ambitious, but it has proven both useful and engaging for the students. The discourse historical approach deals with the manner in which evidence is gathered, selected, analysed, critically evaluated, and 

applied, but it also highlights the rhetorical features in a text such as the Declaration of Independence. This type of analysis primarily problematises ideology, power, and criticism, and the material is categorised in terms of nomination, predication, argumentation, perspectivisation, as well as 

intensification or mitigation. The aim of this presentation is to use concrete examples from my teaching to show how this might play out in the teaching of English on various levels in the school system.

2021 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Remediating an International Masters’ Programme Environment


Together with Sylvi Vigmo. Designs for Learning: Remediation of Learning online conference, May 25–26, 2021, Stockholm university, Sweden


This study presents the ongoing development of the Social Sciences of Sustainability umbrella platform at Jönköping University, which currently brings together three separate international masters’ programmes, a decision made by the School of Education and Communication. Our primary focus is one of them, the in itself interdisciplinary Learning, Digitalization and Sustainability (LeaDS) programme, which has its foundation in the field of education, but branches out into communication, leadership, digitalization, culture, diversity, and social sustainability. We outline the process of remediation from when the programme was first conceived in 2019 as a joint international partnership between universities in Mumbai, India, and in Jönköping, Sweden, towards the still international, but also sustainability-oriented and interdisciplinary platform that currently is being built at Jönköping University. The process has involved taking two steps forward and one step back for a number of reasons and, through an autoethnographic lens (Adams, Holman Jones & Ellis, 2015), this presentation aims to discuss the process of intercultural, interdisciplinary and interpersonal professional/academic learning that have taken place over the last few years. Why have some aspects, constellations and collaborations worked well and continued to be a part of the developing programme whereas others turned out less sustainable?


In the autumn of 2019, the first pilot course, Digitalization and Implementation Processes in School (DIP1) was launched followed by DIP2 in the spring. In the autumn 2020, both DIP1 and DIP2 were remediated in terms of design, in terms of level (as doctoral equivalents/third cycle courses are now offered as well), and with regard to how they fit into the structure of the upcoming programme LeaDS. The initial programme specific group (LeaDS), already interdisciplinary, was extended to include the competences represented in the other two masters’ programmes, Sustainable Communication (Media and Communication studies) and GlobalS (Global Studies). All partners have taken part in a shared process of remediation to integrate the umbrella platform idea. Issues growing out of the creation of joint courses, elective courses, as well as programme specific courses, revealed challenges and structural constraints. Another decision, not yet taken due to the pandemic, concerns whether teaching should be online/offline or a hybrid/hyflex, but this is also a reflection of how we as programme designers have collaborated during the process.


In order to map the various voices involved in the process outlined above, we are drawing on Smyth, MacNeill and Hartley’s (2016) conceptual matrix, which “suggests four key constructs to identify the key dimensions of the Digital University.” The model highlights digital participation, information literacy, curriculum and course design, as well as learning environment aspects. In addition, we rely on Trowler and Cooper’s (2002) concept teaching and learning regimes as we explore the instantiations, selections, negotiations and contestations, and with this a focus on power and agency (Deleuze & Guattari, 1986), involved in the remediation of teaching and learning environments. With this presentation we revisit our design process taking the matrix, teaching and learning regimes as analytical points of departure to illustrate our autoethnographical navigation around unforeseen challenges and obstacles.

2021 BOOK CHAPTER (in Swedish)

Diskursanalys i engelskundervisningen

Diskursanalys med utbildningsvetenskapliga perspektiv. Eds: Angerd Eilard and Christoffer Dahl. Studentlitteratur, 2021.

Oavsett språk är diskursanalys som metod huvudsakligen densamma,men den kulturella kontexten och förförståelsen, och därmed förutsättningarnaför att analysera, kan skilja sig från varandra. I detta kapitelkommer jag att utgä från en av de uppgifter jag ger till mina studenter: attanalysera USA:s självständighetsförklaring från 1776 (National Archives,Wikisource) utifrån ett historiefokuserat diskursanalytiskt perspektiv.Med hjälp av diskursanalytikerna Ruth Wodak och Michael Meyer kommerjag även att gå igenom vad det historieanalytiska diskursperspektivetinnebär och ge förslag p. hur detta kan användas i undervisningen på olikanivåer. Att kontextualisera historiskt så väl som hierarkiskt, det vill sägaatt lära sig se och förstå sociala maktspel, är i det här fallet centralt förmålet att studenterna ska utveckla sin förmåga att läsa mellan raderna ochkunna argumentera för sina tolkningar med hjälp av relevanta exempel.

2020 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Resisting Commodification

The Importance of Education in Today’s Social Media Landscape


LeaDMe conference, KC College, Mumbai, India, February 12-15, 2020

Information and communication technologies andsocial media are increasingly used in teaching all over the world. They may bring convenient and innovative solutions to issues of up-to-date teaching material, may allow teachers at all levels to individualise teaching, and may also facilitate networking and knit together regions, countries and continents.These technologies are corner stones in our globalised world and their usefulness is readily apparent. One use, data mining, is used to forecast andmonitor phenomena as varied as rain fall, flooding, harvests, road accidentsand dengue outbreaks. It is seen as a convenient tool to predict aspects thatwill influence the population of a country. However, the use of these types oftechnologies can also pose problems – even dangers. When news of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal broke in March 2018, it became obvious – and generated sharp responses from political leaders all over the world – that user data could be utilised to serve malignant purposes and that the users of social media could be vulnerable to various types of manipulation,be it for commercial or political reasons.


Both historian Timothy Snyder (The Road toUnfreedom, 2018) and social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, 2018) have mapped the influence of

authoritarian regimes and neo-liberal organisations/companies on social media. In their writing, as well as in their talks all over the world, they are raising people’s awareness ofthe potential threats to democracy. Snyder highlights how Russia has been successful in telling their own, often fabricated, version of history to justify their involvement in Ukraine, in the 2016 US presidential election and in the British EU referendum. Zuboff draws our attention to how global information technology companies like Google and Facebook use the data, provided voluntarily by the users as a part of their interaction with friends online,not only to predict their behaviour but also to modify it. This may, according to Zuboff, impact negatively on democratic system as well as human rights.


These fears are not new. Already in the mid-1990s, researchers called for new policies to mitigate the hazards of new media, primarily focusing on control and ownership. However, in a time when more and more aspects of our educational system and teaching relies on information and communication technologies and social media – and with more technical possibilities to influence citizens in a time when these have become commodities in themselves – there may be an even stronger need to discuss strategies that will safeguard democratic institutions,

ensure fair elections and a critically engaged and educated public. Who has the real power, who governs, in our globalized world? Commercial interests? Authoritarian leaderswho have done away with democratic elections and free media? An elite clique focused on their own interests? Democratically elected leaders, who try to do their best for the majority of people in their country? Regardless of which, our education systems must be able to create and sustain a buffer against undemocratic forces, must teach students how to discover manipulation and also how to resist it. Using text analysis, I am drawing on Snyder and Zuboff as well as documents indicating how information technology is intended to be implemented in schools in various countries. I will focus on the threats posed by the commodification of information technology users and, with the help of Gilles Deleuze and Felìx Guattari, suggest ways for educators to teach how to discover power structures and to hopefully subvert attempts at manipulation.

2019 LECTURE & WORKSHOP (in Swedish)


Makten i klassrummet


Kompetensportalen, December 11, 2019, Lund University, Sweden


Vad är makt? Vi pratar sällan om makt och makt känns mer i magen än diskuteras öppet i olika sammanhang, vilket leder till att vi ofta inte har ord att synliggöra maktförhållanden. Michel Foucault påpekar att ”maktutövning och upplevelsen av frihet tar ut varandra” (1982, p. 790) och beskriver makt som ett ”sätt på vilket vissa gärningar påverkar andra” (p. 788).
Foucault säger vidare (1984) att ”maktteknologin” har satts i bruk av makthavarna för att disciplinera och kontrollera dissidenter och störande element i ett sammanhang där hierarkiska maktstrukturer har implementerats. Det finns legitim maktutövning, men även illegitim och maktutövande kan vara både konstruktivt och repressivt – ibland på samma gång. Gilles Deleuze och Felìx Guattari (1986) sätter fokus på förhandling och subversion av makt. De pekar på möjligheten att influera och förändra makthierarkier, att hitta vägar att skapa ett ”slätt rum”, en plan yta där kontroll minimeras och individer kan finna och skapa en större autonomi. Motsatsen är det ”räfflade rummet” som är kontrollerat och kringgärdat av regelverk och tydliga begränsningar, där individer måste förhålla sig till det redan bestämda. Ett räfflat rum motstår förändring medan ett slätt rum förlitar sig på att allt är möjligt att förändra. Deleuze (1988) ser makt som en kontinuerlig utveckling av strategiska positioner och anser att makten inte är homogen utan definieras av de punkter den passerar igenom. Vid varje punkt sker någon typ av förhandling - synlig eller osynlig, uttalad eller ej. Med hjälp av dessa teoretiker och fyra konkreta klassrumexempel synliggörs makt i denna föreläsning och workshop med målet att utöka vår förmåga att läsa av maktstrukurer och, ja... att prata om makt.

2019 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Why Society Needs Literature


Litteraturdidaktiskt Nätverk, November 7-8, 2019, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun, Sweden


Historian Timothy Snyder argues that historical knowledge is crucial in politics and in the building of a democratic society. Indeed, pulling the argument further, he claims that political awareness and the safe-guarding of democratic structures require both knowledge of the past and anticipation of the future. If we, as human beings, lose the ability to look forward to interesting possible futures, we get stuck in the ”politics of inevitability,” to see the future as an inevitable, unchangeable continuation of the now, and may lose the will and ability to create an inspiring future; we lose our sense of agency and responsibility.


While Snyder primarily points to the importance of learning from the multiplicity of history, my point, as a literary scholar, is to highlight the multiplicity of voices and stories found in literature, which puts the possible societal use of literary texts into focus. Unrelated to an individual’s personal history and any resulting sensitivities, literature studies may provide a ”safe” and less personal arena to explore fictional scenarios, whether they be set in the past, in a now, or in a possible future. Literary studies can delve into the manner in which literature might warn us, push us, lead us, or inspire us. It can help create a space in which to discuss difficult societal developments and help facilitate a common language, which can provide a platform to discuss non-fictional issues when aiming to chart the road ahead for individuals, groups, and communities.


Snyder argues that we, as citizens, have to take charge and take responsibility for the future; to leave the politics of inevitability behind. By providing and analysing literary visions and imaginations, in this case with the help of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, I argue that literature and literary studies can help us do so.

2019 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Migration and the Motherland

Ex-Colonisers and Ex-Colonised in the literary works of José Eduardo Agualusa and Ondjaki

The Migration Conference, June 18–20, 2019, Università degli studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy

In an interview in The Guardian (2017), author Hanif Kureishi stated: ”My father hated the idea that people would say he was an immigrant. He wasn’t someone from elsewhere, he was from India, which was part of the British empire.” In other words: Hanif Kureishi’s father viewed himself as a British subject with a self-evident connection to Great Britain, and therefore an equally self-evident right to live there, since this was his motherland. It may seem obvious, if contested by some, that ex-colonisers would have some type of responsibility towards the inhabitants of the countries they have colonised in the past, but is it also the same the other way around?


This role-reversal has indeed already taken place as the financial crisis, that hit Portugal in 2008, has led to Portuguese people emigrating and settling in the former colonies, especially in Angola. As Portugal experienced its financial decline, Angola, on the other hand, experienced a boom due to oil findings (Åkesson, 2018). Hence, former coloniser nationals can be said to return to the colonised country in a weakened state, financially as well as status-wise, but where does this potential status-reversal lead? Over the centuries, the contact zones of transculturation (Pratt, 1992) have been moved from colonised land to Portuguese soil to, again, that of the formerly colonised. As a result, Angola has again become a place of ”co-presence, interaction understandings and practices within hierarchized systems of dominance” (Bonnici, 2004), just as it was when Portugal ruled its colonies, but on what grounds do individuals have power and what are their aims?


I will try to find the answer to the questions posed in works of literature. Although prize-winning and recognised in the Lusosphere, authors across the Portuguese-speaking parts of the world have rarely gained the world-wide recognition they deserve. So far, this is the case for both authors in my study, Agualusa and Ondjaki, who are writing from a postcolonial Angolan viewpoint. Studying their works, my own theoretical angle will not be postcolonial per se, but instead focused on mapping the structures and shifts in power, agency and societal hierarchies by using Gilles Deleuze’s and Felìx Guattari’s concepts of smooth and striated space, which highlight the fluctuating aspects of hierarchical power. In this paper, my aim is thus to explore, through a literary analysis, how the power structures and hierarchies are displayed between the ex-colonisers and the ex-colonised in the fictional works of José Eduardo Agualusa and Ondjaki.

2019 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Reading the Power Structures

Potential Pitfalls when Teaching Democracy and Democratic Values in Scanian Schools


MuDD2019 International Conference Workshop. April 10, 2019. Jönköping University, Sweden. 


Swedish teachers and future teachers are obligated to teach democracy and democratic values in line with Swedish laws; fundamentally an ethical act. To be able to do so requires leadership skills, perhaps because the leap from being conveyers of knowledge to becoming conveyers of ethics requires more. In an ethnically diverse classroom, competing ideas of democracy may be present, which leads to the teacher risking having to argue against, from a Swedish perspective, alternative or ”incorrect” ways of viewing democracy. In this instance, a teacher’s leadership skills and their
ability to read the classroom may be tested. Many people with an ethnically Swedish background may even think that hierarchies and power structures do not exist in Sweden. They may not even have a language to think about or describe power. As a result they often fail to notice power games, into which they may even have been unwittingly drawn, making themselves a part of the problem. As a result, teachers may even fail to safeguard pupils that are placed at the hierarchical bottom, simply because they do not see the hierarchies. The situation could easily erupt in wild discussions or even conflicts before the teacher is fully aware of what is happening. This has indeed happened.


In the last two years I have visited almost 130 trainee teachers on their teaching practice all over Scania, Sweden; many in the ethnically diverse Malmö. The vast majority of these students aim to become teachers of English, whereas the rest have modern languages such as Spanish or German as their future teaching subjects. The multilingual and multiethnic approach is therefore at the core of their education, but it is further enhanced by the fact that many of the students come from multilingual and/or multiethnic backgrounds themselves and frequently encounter pupils with similar backgrounds. Learning about power structures is not a part of their education, however, and after all these teaching practice visits, I am most struck by the insecurity quite a few of them display when carrying out and analysing their roles as leaders. Even teachers with a non-Swedish and perhaps more hierarchical background—who often are more used to reading signals of power—seem at a loss when trying to handle instances involving power struggles, sometimes labelling the pupils as ”immature” or ”troubled,” when these are attempting to find out if they can become the highest ranked individual in the classroom, since the (trainee) teacher, sometimes unwittingly, has left that position vacant.


Democracy is self-evidently not the only contested or ethically charged subject in Swedish schools, but drawing on Foucault’s theories of power as well as Deleuze’s and Guattari’s concepts of smooth and striate space (which highlights the negotiation of power), I would like to discuss various scenarios involving hierarchy and power structures in the classroom. My aim is that this can lead to a greater awareness of power structures and the importance of creating a language for addressing them.

2019 JOURNAL ARTICLE


A TESOL Practicum in Sweden


Together with Francis M. Hult. Current Perspectives on the TESOL Practicum: Cases from around the Globe. Eds: Andrzej Cirocki, Irshat Madyarov, Laura Baecher. Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 40).


In the purportedly egalitarian society of Sweden, with a self-proclaimed feminist government stressing that any inequalities should be minimized, and democratic values taught, one of the roles of pre-service teachers is to teach the values of Swedish society entextualized in the national curriculum. This implies teaching democracy and equal/human rights – in theory as well as in practice. With Foucault’s work on power as well as Deleuze’s and Guattari’s notions of smooth and striated space as backdrops, this chapter discusses how pre-service teachers can discover patterns of power and subversion and learn how to manage their own power in a balanced manner. An increased awareness of the mechanisms of power, and respect for everyone else’s equal rights as well as one’s own, should also have the goal and possibility of creating a sustainable classroom environment. With Swedish policy as a foundation, and knowledge of cultural differences and power structures, pre-service teachers can become teachers who convey information, read and affect the power strategies in their environment in a balanced manner, while working for democracy and equal rights more easily and successfully.

2018 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION and 2019 BOOK CHAPTER


Migration, Integration and Power

The Image of ‘the Dumb Swede’ in Swede Hollow and the Image of Contemporary

New Swedes in One Eye Red and She Is Not Me


The Migration Conference, June 26–28, 2018, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, and

Culture, Literature and Migration. Eds: Ali Tilbe and Rania Khalil. Transnational Press, London

Ola Larsmo’s fictional Swede Hollow (2016) maps a time of Swedish late 19th century and early 20th century immigration into the United States. Extensively researched and based on authentic, contemporary sources, he highlights their toil and hardships in the new country, but he also shows their paths to becoming established U.S. citizens. With this as a backdrop, my aim for this paper is to draw parallels to more current literary images of immigration into Sweden as shown in Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s One Eye Red (2003) and Golnaz Hashemzadeh’s She Is Not Me (2015), particularly with regard to agency, the acceptance or resistance to adaptation to the majority culture and the negotiation of power.

My study is a literary analysis of the three novels. The two latter are  written by authors who themselves

are well acquainted with contemporary migration and integration issues and processes in Sweden. Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s mother is Swedish and his father is Tunisian and in his novel he portrays immigrant life in a Swedish multi-ethnic suburb of Stockholm with a 15-year-old boy as its main character. Golnaz Hashemzadeh and her family’s country of origin is Iran and she arrived in Sweden at the age of three. Her semi-autobiographical novel She Is Not Me portrays her own journey growing up in Swedish almost exclusively white and middle-class Gustavsberg, a small city with roughly 40.000 inhabitants situated south of Stockholm, and her ambition as she was accepted at the most prestigious universities in Sweden as well as in

the U.S. but also the costs for her personally.

The use of Gilles Deleuze’s and Felìx Guattari’s concept of smooth and striated space will help me map the structures and shifts in power, agency and societal hierarchies. My paper addresses the costs as well as the benefits of migration and adapting to the majority culture in fín de siècle United States and contemporary Sweden respectively, how the characters (attempts to) build a bridge between the old culture and the new and how they carve out new identities and create possibilities for themselves while navigating more or less visible new structures and social hierarchies.

2016 JOURNAL ARTICLE


’Luxury Refugees’ or ’People in

Search of a Life?’

The causes and effects of migration in Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah


Special edition, International Journal of Technoscience and Development. Department of Technology and Aesthetics. Blekinge Institute of Technology, Spring 2016.


“Luxury refugees” has become a fairly common, derogatory term in media for people fleeing from sometimes war-torn areas, but, since they often have access to both money and the latest technology, they are often not regarded as “real refugees.” The image of the prototypical refugee often involves a person who has left everything behind, whose only belongings are the clothes he or she is wearing and some minor symbolic items reminding them of the home they have been forced to leave behind — a tragic, but heroic image. Those who use the term “luxury refugees” in a derogatory manner do not seem to realise, as professor of global health Hans Rosling argues: most of the people in the world today have had similar possibilities and access to the same type of technologies as anyone living in the western part of the world for quite some time now (Borgström), and therefore bring this with them if they can, and, in addition, that those who flee — especially those fleeing to the west — are the people, primarily belonging to the middle class, who have the means to do so (Clemens 13). The really poor are most often left behind to cope at the best of their abilities.


Some of the countries migrants originate from at the time of writing are Syria, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria. Syria is currently an obvious war zone haunted by several conflicting interest groups, Pakistan has battled the talibans for years, and Nigeria has well-known problems with the islamist group Boko Haram, although these problems affect only a small portion of the large country. Ghana, however, is one of the most stable democracies in Africa, with a steady improvement in living standards since the early 1990s, and as such the country is seemingly not a self-evident emigration candidate. Nevertheless, higher living standards usually equals a growing population, which requires jobs, and, as migration and development researcher Michael Clemens suggests, “[i]f wages are downwardly rigid this can mean rising unemployment and thus emigration pressure—compounded because younger workers are much more likely to migrate internationally than their older counterparts” (Clemens 12). This, in fact, foregrounds financial stability as a key reason causing people, especially the young, to flee their home countries, and this has been described in recent literature. In this essay, my empirical examples will be taken from two novels set in two of the countries mentioned above — Nigeria and Ghana — which have been written by the authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Taiye Selasi. Both Adichie, born in Nigeria and educated in the US, and Selasi, a British-American born in London to Nigerian and Ghanaian parents, describe the struggles of immigrants to the West. Adiche primarily focuses on the experiences of firstgeneration immigrants whereas Selasi focuses on both first-generation and second-generation ones, thus mirroring their own experiences and backgrounds. In this essay, my intention is to explore issues of migration and integration as displayed in Adichie’s Americanah and Selasi’s Ghana Must Go.

2014 BOOK CHAPTER


The Framework for University Level Text Analysis


Text Analysis: Culture, Framework & Teaching. Eds: Jane Mattisson and Maria Bäcke. Kristianstad University Press.

For several years there has been a huge emphasis on higher education’s role in shaping future employees to fit the requirements of potential employers and adapting education to the recruitment needs of the same. This is not the only goal of higher education, however. At the very beginning, in section eight of the first chapter of the Swedish Higher Education Act, it is written that ”[f]irst-cycle courses and study programmes shall develop the ability of students to make independent and critical assessments.” In addition, ”students shall develop the ability to gather and interpret information at a scholarly level.” Both quotes highlight the aspect of critical analysis, which is mandatory for university studies regardless of field. To help develop critical thinking and further independent analysis among the students are thus two of the most important goals for Swedish educators in higher education.


Academic disciplines follow the Swedish Higher Education Act in various ways depending on the traditions and customs in their respective fields. Within the field of English literature, text analysis is at the forefront and a huge amount of research has been made delving into its method. Authors often encountered by students are Lois Tyson, M. Keith Booker, Terry Eagleton, and Jonathan Culler as they have written often used introductions to literary theory and critical perspectives. My aim in this paper is to focus on the teaching of literary text analysis as a method and a means to adhere to the independent and critical assessment requirement as well as to gather and interpret information — which I will focus on primarily — in the Swedish Higher Education Act. What are the strengths of text analysis as a method and to what extent does it contribute to fulfil the aims of higher education as expressed by Swedish law?

2014 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS


Text Analysis

Culture, Framework & Teaching


Eds: Jane Mattisson and Maria Bäcke. From the Text Analysis Symposium at Kristianstad University, April 2014

The articles included in these proceedings were presented at a text analysis symposium on 14 and 15 April 2014. The presenters represented a range of educational institutions: Belarusian State University, Belarus; Kristianstad University, Sweden; Linnaeus University, Sweden; Lund University, Sweden; Malmö Academy of Music, Sweden; Malmö Borgarskola, Sweden; Minsk Academy of Public Administration, Belarus; St Petersburg State University, Russia; University of Latvia, Latvia; and West University of Timișoara, Romania. The six sessions covered a range of subjects related to text and discourse analysis. The first session, “Text Analysis and Literature”, included papers on Tomas Tranströmer, John Fowles and Alice Munro. The second session, “Discourse Analysis”, discussed topics as diverse as traditional culture as a discourse, categories of text and discourse and their role in collecting, organising and interpreting data, and analysing song lyrics. Session three, “Text Analysis in Teaching and Literature”, considered the 

appreciation of literature in second language reading, how to teach literary theory through detective stories, and stylistic devices in Somerset Maugham’s short story “Louise”. The fourth session, “Text Analysis in Teaching and Writing considered issues as diverse as text analysis and teaching writing, plagiarism detection systems in higher education, and teacher feedback and autonomy. The fifth session, “Text and Discourse Analysis for Change”, discussed a range of issues including a linguistic perspective on Swedish official documentation on children, linguistic interference and commonly occurring mistakes in Swedish secondary schools, and text analysis at university-level. The final session, “Text analysis and ICT” included papers on Filipino transnational identities in blogs, text analysis in the age of technology, and the contextualisation, organisation, and textualisation of IT operational documentation The symposium also saw the launching of a new journal, Contemporary Society and its Discourse Representations. 

Further information may be obtained from Professor Irina Oukhvanova-Shmyrova, Belarusian State University, at ioukhvanova@gmail.com.


All articles have been peer reviewed and contributors have been invited to edit their papers in accordance with the reviewers’ instructions. The final version is the sole responsibility of the contributor. Special thanks go to the participants and contributors to this volume; we hope that you will visit us again. Our grateful thanks also go to Kristianstad University for the use of the university premises and for subsidising the publication of the conference programme and the conference visit to Naturum Nature Centre, as well as for providing refreshments during the breaks. We also wish to thank Anders Håkansson for assisting with the publication of this volume.

2012 JOURNAL ARTICLE


Make-Believe and Make-Belief

in Second Life Role-Playing Communities 


Convergence 18(1). Special issue. 85-92. DOI: 10.1177/1354856511419917


This feature article applies the concepts of ‘make-believe’ and ‘make-belief’ formulated by performance theorist, Richard Schechner, in a study of two role-play communities, Midian City and Gor in the online 3D environment Second Life. With make-believe fantasy role-play at their core, members of the two communities negotiate the social and political norms, the goals of the community and as well as the boundaries of the virtual role-play. The article explores the innovative forms of interaction at play in these negotiation processes, using (cyber)ethnographic methods and the analysis of various textual sources, Goffman’s theories of social performance as well as various types of performance discussed by Schechner and Auslander. The innovative forms of interaction are analysed in the light of the new technology and as performances and make-belief strategies directed towards realizing performative utopias, towards influencing the direction in which leaders and residents of this digital context want the role-play to develop, and towards shaping the emergent social and cultural rules and the political framework of the role-play.

2011 DOCTORAL THESIS


Power Games

Rules and Roles in Second Life


Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctorial Dissertation Series. No 2011:09. ISSN 1653-2090.

ISBN 978-91-7295-209-6.

This study investigates how the members of four different role-playing communities on the online platformSecond Lifeperform social as well as dramatic roles within their community. The trajectories of power influencing these roles are my main focus. Theoretically I am relying primarily on performance scholar Richard Schechner, sociologist, Erving Goffman, and post-structuralists Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felìx Guattari. My methodological stance has its origin primarily within

literature studies using text analysis as my preferred method, but I also draw on the (cyber)ethnographical works of T.L. Taylor, Celia Pearce, and Mikael Jakobsson. In this dissertation my focus is on the relationship of the role-player to their chosen role especially in terms of the boundary between being in character, and as such removed from "reality," and the popping out of character, which instead highlights the negotiations of the social, sometimes make-belief, roles. Destabilising and

problematising the dichotomy between the notion of the online as virtual and the offline as real, as well as the idea that everything is "real" regardless of context, my aim is to understand role-play in a digital realm in a new way, in which two modes of performance, dramatic and social, take place in a digital context online.

2009 BOOK CHAPTER


Self, Setting, and Situation

in Second Life


Literary Art in Digital Performance: Case Studies in New Media Art and Criticism

Ed: Francisco J. Ricardo, New York: Continuum. 109-142.


Linden Lab, the company behind the online world Second Life (SL), invites multiplicity with slogans like “Your World. Your Imagination.”1 Yet many SL residents’2 profiles give evidence of adjustment to group narratives or norms in various social spaces inside the world. They seem to favor already established social and cultural conventions when creating an online identity; hence they also adjust to already existing hierarchies. I argue that residents in SL recreate social orders and power structures similar to ones already existing outside SL, even though they are of course under no obligation to do so. In that sense social and cultural patterns are reproduced and in some cases even amplified. My aim here is to trace social dynamics evident in three groups within this digital space and my hypothesis is that the rules of these social spaces then function as a foundation and guideline for identity formation, and in fact almost seem to prescribe a certain way of acting or behaving. Two of the groups have a clear role-playing profile, based on books and movies, whereas role-playing is not required, although possible, in the third group. All of them are thus removed from the lifeworld by constituting either purely fictive or, conversely, historical constructs, but they can nevertheless provide clues to how the residents think in an environment that is not primarily “real life” based, and in which anything, even a utopia, can be possible. By reading group charters and profile descriptions found in the SL search engine, and studying articles and blogs functioning either as group information channels or journals for individuals in each community, I examine the motivations and power structures driving avatar and online identity construction in role-playing communities, with a focus on the interac- tion between the overarching “state” power, the Linden Lab, the three communities, their respective role-models, and the rules that govern them, as well as the individuals that are a part of them.

2008 BOOK CHAPTER


Decolonizing Cyberspace

Cyberculture and New Media. Ed. Francisco J. Ricardo, Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Increasingly important information and communication technologies (ICT) play a significant role – sometimes as an image, sometimes as a tool – for authors like Ellen Ullman, Melissa Scott, Jeanette Winterson and Pat Cadigan. In their novels they explore patterns of power, hierarchy and colonization through the destabilization of space and transgress boundaries in the space they create. By making connections between post-colonial/post-structural/post-modern theory and technology, I explore the authors’ reasons for 

making these transgressions. Édouard Glissant explains how computers, and computer-mediated text, can generate a ‘‘space within the indeterminacy of axioms” and how this opens up possibilities to create a space where imaginative and ideological liberation is possible. Glissant’s idea of indeterminacy grows out of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s discussion about space and how it is structured. The virtual, seemingly topographical, space of the Internet has been described, on the one hand, as an information highway

(striated space) and, on the other, as a web, where it is possible to surf (smooth space). I connect these concepts to the novels and explore to what extent the authors use these strategies to de-colonize the fictional, digital space their characters inhabit.

2008 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Avant-Garde and Subversion in an Online 3D World


Under the Mask: Perspectives on the Gamer Conference, University of Bedfordshire, Luton


The 3D online world Second Life provides ample opportunities for both role-play and social interaction. Moreover, the relative lack of explicit game-rules (at least initially) on the part of the creator, Linden Lab, provided the gamers with a carte blanche to be anyone they want and give them the freedom to do almost anything. It has become clear, however, that Linden Lab has found reasons for making alterations in their legislative framework. Additionally, local game rules are being developed in many places and there are huge differences in how these rules are maintained and enforced. Using theories of the avant-garde (Greenberg, Poggioli, Bürger) as a stepping stone, as well as Manuel Castells’ four-layered theory of Internet cultures (the techno-meritocratic, the hacker, the virtual communitarian and the entrepreneurial culture), my intention is to explore the actions of, and the attitudes towards, the type of digital avant-garde that is exemplified by gamers/hackers/griefers/deviants. I will look at this both on a "global level" and on a local level, where communities and sim owners use different strategies to control their land and gamers’ behaviour on it. The global data will be taken from the”Incident Management Report” which is issued by the Second Life Governance Team on violation against Linden Lab rules. Additionally, I will carry out interviews with sim owners and community representatives, as well as with some of those who are labelled grievers. I will also look at blogs and articles that address the issue of grievers and disruptive behaviour in an online world.

2007 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Construction of Digital Space

Second Life as a fantasy or a work tool

M3 - The Virtual '07 Conference, Södertörn University, Sweden

Drawing upon Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space and Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space, I read both private and public digital 3D spaces made available through SL and examine to what extent they are inscribed in or distanced from the underlying ideology of Second Life. I use textual sources - written codes of conduct, covenants written by the land owners, actual buildings and environments created in Second Life, an interview, as well as blogs and articles - to explore how three different categories of space are constructed and maintained: one where SL is primarily seen as a work tool for profit or teaching, another where the main goal is a detailed, homogenuous and highly visual space, and a third category where a homogenuous space is created in order to enable a more organized fantasy and facilitate game-play. Choice of Theme: Expressions of ideology in design and digital technologies

2007 JOURNAL ARTICLE


"Freedom for Just One Night"

The Promise and Threat of Information and Communication Technologies


WomenWriters.net, Spring Vol., Special Guest Issue


’Freedom for Just One Night’ The Promise and Threat of Information and Communication Technologies Not many novels have been written about technology from a female perspective, but Jeanette Winterson’s The PowerBook and Pat Cadigan’s children’s book Avatar are two examples where information and communication technologies (ICT) play a major role. That women often see the benefits of a less regulated space provided by the technology is explored in these two novels. In this essay I will study them through the lens of Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of smooth and striated space. The focus has been on three different issues: information and communication technology’s impact on identity; privacy and security on the Internet; and also – since both of the authors are women, who consider gender-related strategies – female views of ICT. The novels contradict the idea that there is a virtual reality entirely separated from the real world; both imply that although ICT creates a virtual environment, the meetings and communications that take place in it are real, especially from an emotional perspective. The novels suggest that the characters’ sense of identity and security often is tested when opposites – smooth/striated, online/offline, virtual/real, emotional/technical, private/public – collide, when this collision triggers an emotional response. In Avatar emotions are in fact a method to authenticate the validity of what happens in a virtual environment. Furthermore, the collision and its impact on the emotions create an indeterminacy, a smooth space, and seems to be a narrative strategy for both Winterson and Cadigan, which they both use to examine a number of issues, including patriarchy, which shows what these female authors think is possible to do with the help of ICT. Both texts study how the Internet – and the thoughts mediated through the Internet – influence individuals and societies. As a new medium, Internet can be considered new territory, a new frontier. Whose thoughts are going to be trendsetting on the Net? Who colonizes Cyberspace? Both authors point towards the benefits of a more balanced viewpoint, where more angles than one are taken into account, and what can happen when a hegemonic world-view has been shaken. These novels convincingly show that it is in the dynamic tension between smooth and striated that new viewpoints can be found.

2007 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Identity to Fit the Environment

The Creation of Avatars in Second Life Role-Playing Sims


League of Worlds 4 Conference, The Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden

This study will examine whether residents in the 3D online world Second Life create their avatars and their online identity to correspond to the theme of the (role-playing group/s) in which they are a member. I will primarily look at one Star Wars


group, one Gorean group, and one Victorian Steampunk group. All these three groups are closely linked to social, and highly visual, spaces in Second Life. I will primarily search for cues in the individual avatar profiles—often consisting of both text

and images created by the residents themselves and available in the SL search engine—to find out if their online identities are in line with (or stand in opposition) to the main narrative of the group.

2006 CONFERENCE PRESENTATION


Avatars in Second Life

Creating a Persona in a Virtual World


League of Worlds 3 Conference, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, U.S.


Avatars in Second Life Creating a Persona in a Virtual World Researcher like Donna J. Haraway or Sherry Turkle have highlighted the possibility of fluid and flexible online identities, identities that provide opportunities to explore and expand the real world self—empowering, destabilizing and exhilarating. I intend to look at how the residents in Second Life present themselves, how they build their online persona to create an identity of their liking. I will look at their online presentations in order to investigate to what extent they use keywords or pictures to signal their online or offline preferences or perhaps their belonging to an online subculture. Additionally, I will interview a few of the residents in an attempt to find out their reasons for creating the character they have invented.

2005 EXAM PAPER (in Swedish)


Att glänta på locket till Pandoras ask

Aspekter på vår hantering av fusk och plagiering i studentarbeten


Together with Annika Malmsten and Andreas Lind. Högskolepedagogik, Karlstad university, Sweden

Fusk och plagiering är inga nya fenomen på svenska universitet och högskolor, men IT och i synnerhet Internet har gjort det lättare att såväl fuska och plagiera som att undersöka och upptäcka om så har skett. Därför är det kanske inte förvånande att en helt färsk rapport från Högskoleverket
noterar att antalet studenter som blev föremål för en disciplinär åtgärd ökade med 59 procent från år 2003 till 2004, och kanske inte heller att ”antalet avstängda studenter år 2004 har ökat med 251 procent jämfört med år 2001” (Högskoleverket, 2005). Ändå är vi övertygande om att det finns ett mycket stort mörkertal, och vi har inga svårigheter att förstå varför. Inom den akademiska världen

har särskilt plagiering blivit något av en Pandoras ask (Sutherland-Smith, 2004:1) vars innehåll upplevs både skrämmande och besvärligt att handskas med, inte minst för lärare och handledare. Att det dessutom är ett tidskrävande arbete att utreda misstänkta plagieringsfall (se Bakgrund) lär inte göra någon mindre benägen att, om vi håller oss till ask-analogin, hellre låta locket ligga på – åtminstone för stunden. Ytterst tror vi ändå att det bland alla berörda parter, inklusive våra studenter, finns många som vill komma till rätta med problemet inom en överskådlig framtid. Vi är redo att åtminstone glänta på locket till Pandoras ask redan nu.

2005 EXAM PAPER (in German)


Zum schwedischen Dialekt Malungsmål und dessen Beziehungen zur deutschen Sprache


German, Karlstad University, Sweden


Denna uppsats undersöker samband och likheter, primärt grammatiska sådana, mellan det tyska språket och malungsmål, en svensk dialekt från Dalarna. Uppsatsen ger först en kort översikt över teorier om hur dialekter i både Tyskland och Sverige förändras grammatiskt och ger sedan en mer detaljerad bild av dialekten malungsmål. Denna bild bygger bland annat på den grammatiska kartläggning dialektforskare som Lars Levander och Ola Bannbers gjorde av dialekter i Dalarna under tidigt 1920-tal. I februari 2001 gjordes fem korta intervjuer av lärare och studenter vid Västerdalarnas gymnasieskola i Malung och en enkätundersökning där totalt 166 svar inkom. Både intervjuer och enkätundersökning visade på en tendens att det är en fördel att utgå från sina eventuella kunskaper om dialekten vid inlärning av tyska eftersom det, som intervjuer, enkätundersökning och speciellt den grammatiska översikten visar, finns många likheter, i synnerhet strukturella sådana, mellan tysk grammatik och malungsmålets grammatik. Uppsatsen avslutas med en önskan om att lärare i Malung ska dra fördel av dessa likheter och dra paralleller mellan dialekten och tyskan i sin undervisning, eftersom detta kan ge ytterligare infallsvinklar som kan tydliggöra och underlätta språkinlärning.

2004 EXAM PAPER


Differences in News Angels between countries

Comparing newspapers in the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden


Media & Communication studies, Karlstad University, Sweden

Idag är idén om möjligheten att hitta en absolut sanning ifrågasatt och människor blir mer och mer medvetna om den dolda dagordning som styr det globala nyhetsflödet. Frågan är snarast: vem styr dagordningen? Vilka åsikter framställs som Sanningen? Det är inte alltid självklart att få möjlighet att föra fram sin egen version av en händelse. Denna uppsats undersöker artiklar som tar upp det amerikanska kongressvalet som hölls den 5 november 2002. Artiklarna kommer från tretton tidningar i sju olika länder – USA, Storbritannien, Frankrike, Tyskland, Italien, Schweiz och Sverige. Innehållet i dessa artiklar analyseras ur olika perspektiv, primärt med hjälp av Geert Hofstedes interkulturella teori, men även mediaägande och -historik tas med i beräkningen. Dessutom kan inrikespolitiska mål ofta märkas, exempelvis i ländernas medielagstiftning. Studien visar det amerikanska perspektivets genomslagskraft, men även hur nationella media i varje land har en egen dagordning som inte nödvändigtvis följer den amerikanska linjen. Den valda teorin kan förklara en del av skillnaderna mellan de undersökta länderna, men studien tar också upp frågan om hur samhället förändras och om media formas av kulturen den är en del av eller om media istället formar kulturen. Det troligaste svaret är: både och. Den vinkling som media väljer kommer att bidra till att forma till en framtida historieskrivning. De olika vinklingarna är därför viktiga eftersom ett flertal synvinklar kan ge en mer nyanserad och balanserad sanning.

2003 EXAM PAPER


“To catch sight of her and then again to lose her”

Trickster behaviour in Virgina Woolf's Orlando


English literature, Karlstad University, Sweden


Several of the characters in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando have traits that resembles those of a classical female folk-tale trickster, who exposes hypocrisies and stupidities in the patriarchal society and introduces new ways of thinking. My aim is mainly to explore how the narrator in Orlando, but also some of the characters in the novel, can be said to function as tricksters. Additionally, my intention is to investigate the motivations behind the use of trickster attributes. The novel gives us an opportunity to explore different structures, both literary ones, in this case biography writing, and social ones. The psychological and social issues connected with gender are foregrounded and examined when Orlando changes from man to woman. Orlando’s shape-shifting gives us the opportunity to study the tricks, masks and disguises women hide behind in order to please, use or transform men; to be able to have more power over their own lives. The way the narrator displays multiple view-points can help the reader to break free from ”habits of thinking” and critically examine the expected roles of men and women. By violating the norms of society the characters are in a position to define new rules for themselves, and create a space where they can live a less restricted life. In my opinion, the novel suggests that any woman – or man – who wants to break out of the patriarchal society’s confining structures seems to be forced to become a trickster.