By Caroline Cabot - Published 28 October 2022
[Translate to English:] Framsida från avhandlingen Gemenskapens gränser

The schools effort to include students with physical disabilities in the classroom, makes the students themselves feel excluded. Emil Bernmalm has completed his dissertation with the thesis Community boundaries: stigma management and pluralistic education in upper secondary school, which examines how the pursuit of an integrated Swedish upper secondary school is experienced by high school youth with severe mobility impairments.

The research interest is directed towards the school's value-conveying mission as it is expressed in the subject plan for the religious studies subject. At the center of the investigation are the students' experiences of a high school education that is both separated from and in many ways integrated into the regular high school. The students' experiences of commuting between an integrated and at the same time exclusive educational situation give them special conditions to interpret and understand the premises for the pluralism that the school is supposed to foster.

With the aim of problematizing the value-based work of the integrated school, Emil Bernmalm shines a light on the students' experiences as special objects of the school's integration. Among other things, these experiences point to a daily school life tightly controlled by symbolic and social boundaries. In particular, the integrated classroom evokes feelings of exclusion and stigmatization that students have to deal with in their everyday school life. Against this background, Bernmalm argues that it is high time to re-evaluate, not only the value-transmitting mission of the school, but also complex processes such as integration and inclusion in the school.

The thesis can be viewed in a digital version here.