“I Never Want to Lose that Key”:

Open access


In recent years, a large number of refugee children have arrived in Sweden. In this article, 15 Afghan boys tell us about their normative longing for education and schooling (should), their experiences of school as an opportunity structure (being) and the resilience of their personal agency as regards succeeding in school (doing). Our empirical data indicate that, particularly thanks to the efforts of many individual teachers, the boys’ should, being and doing are connected and relatively strong. Nevertheless, school as an opportunity structure also entails challenges: an overly one-sided concentration on the Swedish language as well as frequent absence of multilingual classroom assistants, native language instruction, and inclusion. At the same time, the boys long for and work hard to achieve school success. Strong resilience is not individual, however; it works in connection with a preserved should and a strongly developed, activating being.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Backlund Å Eriksson R von Greiff K Åkerlund E-M 2012 ‘Ensam och flyktingbarn-barnet och socialtjänsten om den första tiden i Sverige’ Forskningsrapport 2012:1 FoU Nordost FoU Nordväst och FoU Södertörn.

  • Bunar N 2010 Nyanlända och lärande Vetenskapsrådets Rapportserie 6:10 Stockholm.

  • Bunar N 2015 Nyanlända och lärande Natur och Kultur Stockholm.

  • Bunar N. 2018 Newcomers: hope in cold climate Lärarförbundet och Education Internationell Stockholm.

  • Cohen J 2013 ‘Creating a Positive School Climate: A Foundation for Resilience’ in Handbook of resilience in children eds S Goldstein & R B Brooks Springer New York pp. 411-426.

  • Cummins J 2017 Flerspråkiga elever Natur och Kultur Stockholm.

  • de Wal Postoor L 2012 “Skolen ett sted å laere og et sted å vare” in Barn på flykt ed K Eide Gyldendal Akademisk Norge pp. 219-240.

  • Nilsson J & Bunar N 2016 ‘Educational responses to newly arrived students in Sweden: understanding the structure and influence of post-migration ecology’ Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research vol. 60 pp. 399-416.

  • Garcia O & Wei L 2014 Translanguaging: Flerspråkighet som resurs i lärandet Natur och Kultur Stockholm.

  • Goodson IF & Numan U 2003 Livshistoria och professionsutveckling Studentlitteratur Lund.

  • Hagström M 2018 Raka spår sidospår stopp: Vägen genom gymnasieskolans språkintroduktion som ung och ny i Sverige Tema Barn Linköping universitet.

  • Jahanmahan F & Bunar N 2018. “Ensamkommande barn på flykt – berättelser om flyktingskap interaktioner och resiliens”. In Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift Vol. 25 Nr 1.

  • Lund A & Trondman M 2017 “Dropping out/dropping back in: matters that make learning matter in Queensland Review vol. 24 no. 1 pp. 57-74.

  • Mohme G 2016 Somali-Swedish girls: The construction of childhood within local and transitional spaces Stockholm University Stockholm.

  • Ni Ragahallaigh M & Gillian R 2010 ‘Active survival in the lives of unaccompanied minors: Coping strategies resilience and the relevance of religion’ Child and Family Work vol. 15 no. 2 pp. 226-237.

  • Pastor de Wal L. 2015 “The mediational role of schools in supporting psychosocial transitions among unaccompanied young refugees upon resettlement in Norway. International Journal of Educational Development 41: 245-254

  • Rutter M 2013 ‘Resilience: causal pathways and social ecology’ in The social ecology of resilience: A handbook of theory and practice ed. M Unger Springer New York pp. 33-42.

  • Sharif H 2017 ‘Här i Sverige måste man gå i skolan för att få respekt’: Nyanlända ungdomar i den svenska gymnasieskolans introduktionsutbildning Acta Universitatas Upsaliensis: Studier i utbildnings- och kultursociologi 10 Uppsala.

  • Svensson G 2017 Transspråkande i praktik och teori Natur och Kultur Stockholm.

  • Svensson M & Eastwood M 2013 ‘Betwixt and Between: Hope and the meaning of school for asylum-seeking children in Sweden’ Nordic Journal of Migration Research Nr vol. 3 no. 3 pp. 162-170.

  • Swidler A 2013 ‘Cultural resources of institutional resilience: lessons from chieftaincy in Rural Malawi’ in Social resilience in the neoliberal era eds. PA. Hall & M Lamont Cambridge University Press Cambridge pp. 319-345.

  • The Swedish Migration Board 2017 “Ensamkommande barn per månad 2004”. Available from: <https://www.migrationsverket.se>.

  • Theron LC & Engelbrecht P 2013 ‘Caring teachers: teacher–youth transitions to promote resilience’ in The social ecology of resilience: a handbook of theory and practice ed. M. Unger Springer New York pp. 265-280.

  • Trondman M 1994 Bilden av en klassresa Carlssons Förlag Stockholm.

  • Trondman M 2006 ‘Disowning knowledge: to be or not to be the ‘immigrant’ in Sweden’ Ethnic and Racial Studies vol. 29 no. 3 pp. 431-451.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 56 56 21
PDF Downloads 55 55 14