Conducted by Kristina Boréus, funded by the Swedish Research Council (Research project funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2011-2014)

Project group:

  • Kristina Boréus (project leader) and Soheyla Yazdanpanah, Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University
  • Alireza Behtoui, Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University and Dept. of Social Sciences, Södertörn University
  • Anders Neergaard, REMESO, Linköping University

Swedish as well as international research shows that women, as compared to men, and immigrants, as compared to natives, tend to earn less in the same or similar jobs and that the former groups have poorer chances of promotion and poorer access to advantages at workplaces. Although this pattern in the Swedish labour market is well researched, we know little about how such inequalities are generated and perpetuated at a local level.

In this project several workplaces in the geriatric care sector are studied with the purpose of generating knowledge about what it is that promotes equality at workplaces. We study the importance of individual employees’ access to cultural capital (e.g. education and language skills) and to social capital (i.e. useful social contacts outside of as well as inside the workplace) within the social organisations that the workplaces constitute. Individual access to such capital is related to social structures at the workplaces.

Furthermore, we also investigate whether it is easier for certain employees and not others to have their useful skills – such as language skills – ‘capitalised’ in the form of higher wages and promotion and whether it is easier for certain employees and not others to gather social capital – to become part of workplace networks.

Finally, we study whether local discourses that produce and perpetuate ideas as to what is male and female, Swedish and non-Swedish, contribute to the inequalities found.

The methods used are a survey, individual interviews with employees, participatory (participant?) observation and discourse analysis of what is said and written at the workplaces.