Camilla Thunborg, professor i pedagogik

Camilla Thunborg


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Works at Department of Education
Telephone 08-16 39 29
Visiting address Frescativägen 54
Room 2422
Postal address Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am Professor in Education with a main interest in how identities are formed and changed in and through adult life and in relation to different life settings. I have previously studied how non-traditional students form and transform identities in higher education, non-traditional students employability within the HR sector after higher education, how professional identites are formed in health care services and how new ways of organising work and organisational changes affect the formation of identity.

In a new project 'Spatial pockets of inequalities' young adults in rural and surburb areas that are seen as disadvantaged are studied. In the project we are interested in how social background, geographical and virtual spaces impact on the educational and life careers of young adults.

Theoretically I often take my point of departure from social perspectives such as symbolic interactionism, socio-cultural learning perspectives and new institutionalism concerning issues of learning, organization and identity formation and transformation.

I am also trying to use different methodolgogical approaches such as case studies, biographical research and time geography.


I am teaching in courses concerning adult learning and workplace learning and organization pedagogics. I am also teaching in methodological design and analysis and are supervising essays on bachelor, master and doctorial level.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Camilla Thunborg, Agnieszka Bron. Studies in the Education of Adults 59 (1), 36-54

    The aim of this article is to examine non-traditional graduates’ life transitions before, during, and after higher education (HE) in Sweden. The article builds on a theory called biographical work, which is used for understanding non-traditional graduates’ identity formation and transformation. The article is based on the narratives of two non-traditional graduates who were selected from biographical interviews with nine non-traditional graduates, 2–5 years after graduation from HE. By exploring significant events, learning paths and the formation and transformation of identities in the two graduates’ lives, we identified two expressions of their ongoing life transitions: being in recurrent formation and being in constant transition. Being in recurrent formation means returning to well-known paths in life and learning reactively by reflecting on experiences, whereas being in constant transition means a constant focus on what is next in life and a constant commuting between reactive and proactive learning, i.e. by both reflecting on experiences and preparing oneself for the next move. In the article, we discuss what it means to be in transition as a non-traditional graduate. We conclude that the theory of biographical work helps to understand identity formation and transformation processes in periods of transition, and also how periods of transition occur as parts of biographical learning.

  • 2019. Ali Osman, Camilla Thunborg. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 9 (1), 3-18

    The aim of this article is to explore organisational recruitment practices from human resources (HR) experts’ narratives and discuss the challenges of recruiting underrepresented groups in relation to these practices. From the HR experts’ narratives, we identify four organisational recruitment practices: the informal, the pragmatic, the standardised and the strategic. These practices consist of, for example, ‘subjective’ judgements versus ‘objective’ criteria and are construed in relation to different rationalities, which also give rise to various dilemmas in relation to underrepresented groups. From our analysis, there seems to be a paradox between enhancing diversity and counteracting discrimination. Organisational recruitment practices that are counteracting discrimination do not necessarily enhance diversity and recruitment practices that radically work with enhancing diversity can be seen as discriminatory. We thereby draw the conclusion that there is no effective practice for the recruitment of underrepresented groups in the labour market. This is a dilemma for HR experts and a challenge for the Swedish labour market in general.

  • 2018. Camilla Thunborg, Agnieszka Bron. Continuity and Discontinuity in Learning Careers, 125-131

    The chapter is concerned with European policies for employability of graduate students from higher education to the labour market and a Swedish higher education system which has traditionally invluded widening access students. The chapter highlight issues of inequality relating to employability particularly in relation to working class an minority ethynic students. The study indicates that in relation to employability non-traditional students experience greater challenges than traditional students in the labour market resulting in a segregated labour market.

Show all publications by Camilla Thunborg at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 14, 2020

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