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Åsa Sundelin

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Cultural sensitivity in times of migration – the (im)possible claim?

    2018. Åsa Sundelin. Symposium, Through the Looking Glass:  Shifting perspectives to promote cultural sensitivity


    This presentation addresses the complex issues of cultural sensitivity in career guidance and counselling practice in the context of contemporary patterns of migration. Career counsellors’ cultural sensitivity for clients who either by choice or compulsion occupy the migrant position is of particular importance. Cultural sensitivity in this sense has a broader meaning than merely an attunement to individuals’ cultural context, it is about awareness about how these global trends affect individuals’ meaning making about the future. Studies show that the central meaning making resource for migrant students in career conversations is the emotion of not belonging in the new context. Migration influences individuals’ career narratives and challenges career counselling practice. Scholars point out that while counselling provides an opportunity to contribute to social justice for migrants, this depends on whether counselling services are able to adapt their practices in relation to the challenges of migration and migrants. Following this, counsellors need to develop cultural sensitivity to the impact of migration on clients’ career narratives. The claim for cultural sensitivity though seems to clash with the conditions of migration in career counselling practice.  With the ‘politics of belonging’ (asylum legislations etc.) in western society today follows inhuman situations for many migrants and counsellors testify that, to cope with their daily work, they have to ‘turn off’ their emotional perception of the migrant situation. This emotional dilemma is discussed in the presentation with examples from empirical studies of career counselling conversations with young migrants and strategies for the CGC practice are suggested.

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  • Om språkliga asymmetrier i vägledningssamtal med nyanlända elever

    2017. Åsa Sundelin.


    Interaktion i studie- och yrkesvägledande samtal utgår allmänt från en kunskapsmässig asymmetri mellan deltagarna genom att vägledaren besitter kunskaper om samhället som vägledningssökande ofta behöver. Vad gäller samtal med nyanlända elever finns dessutom språkliga asymmetrier som påverkar samtalen. Nyanlända elever är ofta nybörjare i det svenska språket. Denna artikel tar sin utgångspunkt i dessa språkliga asymmetrier mellan nyanlända elever och vägledare. Det övergripande temat för denna text är möjligheter och utmaningar vad gäller språk och förståelse i vägledningssamtal med nyanlända elever.

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  • Samtalsmetodiska ideal - möjlighet och begränsning i vägledningssamtal med nyanlända elever

    2017. Åsa Sundelin.


    Utgångspunkten för denna artikel är vägledningssamtalets centrala roll i skolors studie- och yrkesvägledande verksamhet. Vägledare verkar dock uppleva sin kompetens som otillräcklig i samtal med nyanlända elever. Artikeln diskuterar detta i relation till vägledares samtalsmetodiska ideal. Den visar på samtalsidealets möjligheter, men även på att otillräckligheten kan ha ett ursprung i krockar mellan samtalsmetodiska ideal och nyanländas behov och situation.

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  • The Swedish report on intellectual output (IO) 02. Collation of Qualitative Questionnaires/Interviews from Experts.

    2017. Åsa Sundelin.


    This is the Swedish report on intellectual output (IO) 02 in the Erasmus+-project CMinaR. The project CMinaR aims to develop higher education courses for career counsellors working with refugee and migrant integration into the labour market. Part O2 of the project involves carrying out a needs analysis that aims at identifying needs, requirements, wishes and preferences of the projects target groups; career counsellors and refugee clients. The needs analysis is based on interviews with experts in the field of career guidance and counselling (CGC) for refugees.

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  • Att skapa framtid

    2015. Åsa Sundelin (et al.).

    Thesis (Doc)

    This is an empirical study that aims to contribute to knowledge about the opportunities the career counselling conversation offers young migrants in shaping their future. Conversations play a central role in career counselling activities in Swedish schools; furthermore, the question of how the Swedish society promotes the inclusion of its immigrants has become an increasingly urgent issue. The study draws on a dialogical framework on interaction and meaning making and seeks to gain insight into how meaning about the future is formed in career counselling conversations. The following questions were formulated:

    • How is the interaction between migrant students and their counsellors formed in counselling conversations?
    • How can the interaction be understood in relation to the participants and their contexts?
    • What seems to enable or constrain students’ meaning making about the future in these conversations?

    The study was conducted in an introductory course for newly arrived immigrants at the upper secondary level. Researcher followed a series of two career counselling conversations between five students and five counsellors, respectively. The empirical material comprises three parts: audio-recordings of conversations, observations of these conversations and audio-recorded interviews with counsellors and students. The students, three men and two women, have a non-European background and had been in Sweden between one and three years. All except one can be considered a refugee. The material was transcribed, and the conversations were analysed with the concepts of communicative projects and strategies. The conversations are the primary empirical material.

    The results show that the counsellors’ and the students’ communicative projects primarily are complementary. Both the counsellor and the conversations appear as crucial for students learning about Swedish opportunity structures and meaning making about the future. The analysis also elucidated interactional patterns and interplay that seem to constrain the students’ possibilities to shape a future with their own conditions within the conversations. The conversations focused on Swedish career opportunities and lacked a transnational perspective. Furthermore, the students’ migrant background was not made relevant in the conversations; hence, the conversations risk contributing to students’ stigmatisation. The counsellors’ methods also seem at risk of individualising issues related to institutional preconditions and structural constraints. However, the analysis also displayed how the counsellor can counteract these constraining effects.

    The result implicates, in alignment with other studies, that the responsibility for the students’ career processes cannot be put on counselling conversations alone; more comprehensive and integrated activities for career learning in the schools are necessary to provide immigrant students with reasonable possibilities for shaping a future. Moreover, the conclusion is drawn that counsellor’s conversation skills are important for the students meaning making about the future but that counsellors also must have, among other things, the ability to comprehend migrants’ feelings and existential issues regarding the future and, not least, knowledge about the conditions of migrants and the ability to both comprehend and actively recognize injustices and different expressions of power. There are seldom others advocating for the rights of migrants.

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Show all publications by Åsa Sundelin at Stockholm University