Maria Andersson Vogel. Foto: Vilhelm Stokstad

Maria Andersson Vogel


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Works at Department of Social Work
Telephone 08-16 37 98
Visiting address Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Room 746
Postal address Institutionen för socialt arbete 106 91 Stockholm

About me

My thesis concerned young people leaving secure unit care, with special focus on the importance of gender, class and ethnicity. My main research areas are youth with antisocial behavior and secure care of antisocial youth. An overall theme in my research is the role of gender in young people’s lives and development, with a special interest in teenage girls and the construction of girlhood.

Completed research projects

Coordinating professionals in the work with youth in risk for substance abuse – a case study of the MUMIN-method.

Evaluation of FREDA – assessment methods in working with people experiencing intimate partner violence (together with Hugo Stranz and Stefan Wiklund, Department of Social Work, Stockholm University).

Current research

My research interest concerns teenage girls in contact with social services and especially those who are referred to secure care. Recently I have conducted a pilot study that aimed to shed light upon why girls without a manifest criminal behavior is referred to secure care. With starting point in the pilot study I am now conducting the research project “Locked up girls - an ethnographic study of girls doing gender in secure unit care”. The aim is to from a gender perspective investigate girls’ everyday life in secure care. In particular I want to describe and analyze the girls’ own opinions, experiences, actions and attitudes concerning their situation and the institutional environment with a special focus on how this can be understood in relation to the girls’ doing of gender. The study is ethnographic and I am carrying out participating observations as well as both group and individual interviews. The project is financed by Forte.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Maria Andersson Vogel. Tvångsvård av barn och unga, 262-277
  • 2016. Maria A. Vogel. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift 23 (2), 109-128

    State-run secure accommodation has a double public function, which places it in the borderland between welfare and legal systems. However, girls in these facilities seldom show criminal behaviour but often report severe mental health problems. Given this, it has been questioned whether this form of care is suitable for these girls. This article aims to investigate discourses about girls and secure care as they are manifested in interviews with social workers. The interviews are analysed as conversations, and therefore feature the researcher in the material. The analysis is inspired by Laclau and Mouffe’s Discourse Theory. The results show that a gendered dichotomy dominates the discourse about girls in contact with social services. Girls are constructed, in relation to boys, by concepts of mental health and vulnerability. This discourse is somewhat destabilized by the suburban girl who simultaneously is given meaning by discourses about the suburbs and their inhabitants as “the Others”. Further, there seems to be a discursive battle concerning girls placed in secure care, who are constructed both as vulnerable girls and as antisocial in terms that tie them to the constructions of boys. Central to this battle is the social workers’ great concern over the girls’ actions and their consequences. The secure accommodation is discursively constructed on one hand as an institution imbued with meaning of being a horrible place, and on the other hand as a function with the possibility to stop, hold and protect. By emphasizing the connection between the social workers’ concern and the secure accommodation as a holding and protecting function, referring a girl discursively constructed as a vulnerable victim to this locked and disciplining form of care is legitimized. 

  • 2015. Maria Andersson Vogel.
  • 2015. Hugo Stranz, Maria Andersson Vogel, Stefan Wiklund.
  • 2014. Maria Andersson Vogel, Marie Sallnäs, Tommy Lundström. Journal of Children's Services 9 (3), 248-260

    Purpose– The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to report results from a quasi-experimental study of outcomes of a leaving care project for youth placed in secure unit care and second, based on the (zero) results, to analyse and discuss the interplay between organisational boundaries, social work and the target group when implementing a project such as the one studied.

    Design/methodology/approach– The outcome study had a quasi-experimental design. The young people in the leaving care programme were compared with a matched reference group who did not get the special leaving care services. Data were collected (structured Adolescent Drug Abuse Diagnosis-interviews) when the young people entered secure units and on follow-up (registered crime and re-entry into care).

    Findings– The outcome study showed that the leaving care project had no effect on the young people's situation at follow-up regarding re-offending and re-entry into secure unit care. This is understood and discussed in relation to the poor implementation of the leaving care project along with an inbuilt conflict between state and local municipality that overshadowed the good intentions of the project.

    Research limitations/implications– The effect study has a quasi-experimental design, and hence differences between the project group and the comparison group at T1 cannot be fully precluded, although nothing is pointing in such a direction. The unclear content of the intervention makes it difficult to decode how the variation in the support given to the young people eventually impacted the results. The zero-results apply to group level, but that may not be valid for each and every one in the project.

    Practical implications– According to earlier research, a key person following young persons through different phases of the care trajectory may be of importance. Learning from the CoC project, one can conclude that such a key person should preferably take the role of advocate for the young person, and not be an administrator mainly concerned with coordinating other professionals. Further, when planning and financing is split between organisations, that split hinders efforts to actually mobilise support for young people leaving secure unit care.

    Originality/value– Few leaving care services are designed for youth with severe behavioural problems and hence, the research is scarce. This study contributes with important knowledge about leaving care interventions for the target group.

  • 2012. Maria Andersson Vogel, Marie Sallnäs, Carolina Överlien.

    This thesis follows a group of youths placed in secure unit care who have participated in a chain-of-care project aiming to better plan their discharge and aftercare. The overall aim of the thesis is to link a detailed description of these young people with an analysis of the project they participated in, and to undertake one- and two-year follow-up studies. Analytic focus is on the significance of gender, class and ethnicity. The study is mainly based on structured interviews performed at the secure units upon entry into care, discharge and at a one-year follow up. Data have also been used from criminal records and interviews with project staff.

    When entering care, these youths exhibited extensive problems in both family conditions and own behaviour. The major problem in boys was criminality while girls reported poor mental health. Professionals judge youth of foreign background as more criminal than youth of Swedish background despite a lack of difference in self-reported data. Some difference is also noticeable regarding class.

    Analysis of the project shows that out-of-home care was the most frequent intervention after leaving secure unit care, while other interventions were difficult to uphold over time. Few girls received help with their mental health problems. At the one-year follow up, the youths reported an overall better situation, although extensive problems still remained. Above all, girls’ mental health problems remained as before. At the 2-year follow up the study group was compared with a control group in order to investigate effects of the project regarding criminality and recommitment to secure unit care. The comparison shows that the project had no effect. This is discussed in relation to poor organization and the difficulty of adjusting a project like this to the target group, along with the substantial part played by gender, class and ethnicity in how the youth are construed and treated.

  • 2012. Tommy Lundström,, Marie Sallnäs, Maria Andersson Vogel.
Show all publications by Maria Andersson Vogel at Stockholm University

Last updated: May 28, 2018

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