Rickard Jonsson. Foto: Niklas Björling.

Rickard Jonsson


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Child and Youth Studies
Telephone 08-120 762 00
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 21A
Room 418
Postal address Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Professor and Director of Section

Section for Child and Youth Studies


linguistic etnography, narrative analysis, masculinity, ethnicity, schooling, urban speech styles


My research concerns masculinity, sexuality, ethnicity, race and language use. Using a linguistic ethnographic approach, Judith Butler’s work on performativity or Narrative and Discurse analysis of talk in interaction, I investigate the construction of young masculinities in everyday school life. A recurrent theme throughout my research is to deconstruct various stereotypes surrounding youth in multilingual settings or classrooms. I take a critical stance towards moralizing descriptions of youth’s language use – and especially the linguistic style labeled "Orten Swedish" or “Rinkeby Swedish”. Other areas of interest are the construction of Swedishness, whitenss and anti-racism in institutions as well as in mundane talk, narratives of boys’ failure and underachievement in school, and, more lately, the study of humour in interaction.


Research projects

Disruptive boys? Public and local narratives about boys’ rulebreaking activities in school

Urban speech style and the idea of desirable Swedishness. Language use, language ideology and the construction of Swedishness among multilingual outer city youth in an inner city high school.rban speech style and the idea of desirable Swedishness


Selected publivations

Jonsson, Rickard (2018): Swedes Can’t Swear: Making Fun at a Multiethnic Secondary School, Journal of Language, Identity & Education

Jonsson, Rickard (2018) “Handling the Other in Anti-racist Talk . Linguistic ethnography in a prestigious Stockholm upper secondary school”. In S Hållsten and Z Nikolaidou  (eds). Explorations in Ethnography, Language and Communication Capturing linguistic and cultural diversities Södertörn: Södertörn Discourse Studies 7 

Jonsson, Rickard (2015). Värst i klassen. Berättelser om stökiga pojkar i innerstad och förort. Stokholm: Ordfront.

Jonsson, Rickard (2014). Boys’ anti-school culture? Narratives and school practices. Journal of Anthropology and Education Quarterly. 

Milani, Tommaso & Jonsson, Rickard (2012). Who's afraid of Rinkeby Swedish? Public debates and school practices. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.Vol. 22, Issue 1: 44–63.

Jonsson, Rickard (2007). Blatte betyder kompis. Om maskulinitet och språkanvändning i en högstadieskola. Stockholm: Ordfront.



Boys' Anti-School Culture, Rickard Jonsson


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Rickard Jonsson, Anna Gradin Franzén, Tommaso M. Milani. Language & Communication 71, 1-15

    The threatening young man who speaks Rinkeby Swedish has become a culturally recognizable ‘figure of personhood’ (Agha, 2007) of linguistic and ethnic otherness in Sweden. Drawing upon Billig's theory of humour, we illustrate how this characterological persona is not monolithic; nor does it remain uncontested but is constantly being (re)negotiated in the media. By drawing attention to those humorous performances that rhetorically make fun of entrenched stereotypes, the article explores the subversive, as well as disciplinary, potentials of this kind of humour. Read together, the examples in this article indicate that the ‘exemplary speaker’ (Androutsopoulos, 2016) of Swedish contemporary urban vernaculars can be laughed at and with but cannot easily be fixed into a unified homogenous figure.

  • 2018. Rickard Jonsson. Journal of Language, Identity & Education 17 (5), 320-335

    During the last decade, Sweden has witnessed a significant increase in public attention concerning the following interrelated linguistic phenomena: (a) a linguistic style labelled “Rinkeby Swedish,” (b) specific “Rinkeby Swedish words” that have been perceived as disparaging in Swedish public debate, and (c) a specific young male immigrant identity indexed by this linguistic style. Drawing on ethnographically collected data and naturally occurring talk in a multi-ethnic Swedish upper secondary school, this article examines a possible shift in language ideology, whereby tabooed words and urban youth styles are not dismissed by the school institution but are incorporated in teaching activities. Furthermore, it is argued that there are reasons to look for other interactional accomplishments than solely identity in the use of urban youth styles. The article shows how identity may be used as a resource in the construction of social hierarchies as well as interactional enjoyment among some male students.

  • 2018. Rickard Jonsson. Explorations in Ethnography, Language and Communication, 15-39
  • 2015. Rickard Jonsson.
  • 2015. Tommaso M Milani, Rickard Jonsson, Innocentia Jabulisile Mhlambi. Language, Youth and Identity in the 21st century
  • 2014. Rickard Jonsson. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 45 (3), 276-292

    Boys' underachievement and oppositional behavior in school has for a long time been the target of various public debates. Drawing on ethnographic data from fieldwork in two Swedish secondary schools, this article explores how the influential theory of boys' anti-school culture can be interpreted as a master narrative that is reproduced, but also contradicted and subverted, by students and teachers in social interaction within local school contexts.

  • 2012. Tommaso Milani, Rickard Jonsson. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 22 (1), 44-63

    Over the last 30 years, linguistic practices of young people in highly dense urban environments in Sweden (also called Rinkeby Swedish) have become something of a Foucauldian conundrum: a phenomenon to be investigated, a problem to be regulated. The present article will explore the dynamic interplay between the ideologies and practices with regard to Rinkeby Swedish. The article will focus on (1) a panel debate that took place in the context of the annual School Forum (Skolforum) in Stockholm in 2009, and (2) a few school interactions among those adolescents whose linguistic practices have generated so much public concern. The main argument of the article is that both the public debate and the school practices are examples of stylized performances in which the participants simultaneously reproduce and complexify or resist dominant language ideologies, together with the (local) cultural meanings and stereotypes associated with them. [youth styles, ethnicity, parody, language ideology, Rinkeby Swedish]

  • Book (ed) Andra män
    2012. Lucas Gottzén, Rickard Jonsson.

    Sverige är världens mest jämställda land, med världens mest jämställda män. Åtminstone framställs det ofta så, både i offentlig debatt och i vardagliga samtal. Denna bild av den normale svenska mannen upprätthålls dock genom att något annat - eller någon annan - skapas som avvikande, annorlunda, obegriplig eller sjuk.

    I den här antologin diskuteras hur det som uppfattas som goda handlingar används för att representera det gemensamma, medan våldsbrott, kvinnomisshandel och sexism förklaras som ett verk av Andra män. Är det därför som män som misshandlat kvinnor har så svårt att se sig själva som kvinnomisshandlare? Är det därför som fördomsfulla stereotyper av invandrarmän används som förklaring till brott eller sexism?

    Hur kommer det sig i så fall att även feministiska män skapas som avvikande? Och vilka föreställningar utmanas egentligen när äldre män beskriver sina växande bröst som sexuellt laddade och njutbara? Varför kan män med funktionsnedsättning inte debattera hjälp till sex utan att ses som kvinnoförtryckare? Eller varför är pedofilen så närvarande i samtal mellan unga män på ett behandlingshem, medan mäns sexuella våld mot barn är så frånvarande i svenska diskussioner om mäns föräldraskap och män i barnomsorg?

    I Andra män diskuterar forskare från antropologi, genusvetenskap, socialt arbete, sociologi och ungdomsvetenskap hur Andra män pekas ut som avvikande, men också hur dessa män hanterar utpekandet.

Show all publications by Rickard Jonsson at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 15, 2020

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