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Utbildnings- och kultursociologi
Sociology of Education and Culture at Uppsala University

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Ethnographic studies of education and culture
PhD Course, 7.5 credits, Sept–Oct. 2022

Sociology of Education, Uppsala University

Information for the participants, see

Start 1 Sept 2022.

Course director: Ida Lidegran <>
Coordinators: Emma Laurin <>, Nubin Ciziri <>
Course administration: Maisam Ali <>

Ida Lidegran
Emma Laurin
Donald Broady
Marie Cartier
Mikael Palme
Yasmine Siblot

Below are the syllabus, the literature list and information on a selection of the sessions. For more information and the schedule see the web platform Studium at Uppsala University.


Learning outcomes
After completion of the course the students are expected to be able to
• independently discuss and apply different methods for analysing interviews in relation to theory in Sociology of Education.
• independently discuss and apply different methods for analysing observations in relation to theory in Sociology of Education.
• critically discuss and asses ethics concerning responsibilities and challenges in conducting and analysing interviews and observations in Sociology of Education.

The course provides an overview of methods for analysing interviews and observation in relation to theory in Sociology of Education as well as hands on workshops where students and teachers analyse students own material for doctoral or master thesis.

The course consists of a series of lectures and workshops with international and Swedish researchers. The language of instruction is English.

The assessment is based on a written assignment. Grading system for doctoral students: Fail (U), Pass (G).


Aarseth, Helen (2014), ”Lyst til læring eller «Fit for Fight»? Middelklasse familiens læringskulturer”, s. 168–188 i H.B. Nielsen (red), Forskjeller i klassen: Nye perspektiver på kjønn, klasse og etnisitet i skolen. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. p. 168-187. (19 p.)

Alan Fine, Gary, & Hallett, Tim (2014), “Stranger and stranger: creating theory through ethnographic distance and authority”. Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 3(2), pp. 188-203. (15 p.)

Atkinson, Paul (2009), Ethics and ethnography. Twenty-First Century Society, 4(1), p. 17-30. (13 p.)

Bourdieu, Pierre (1999[1993]), “Understanding” s. 607–626 i Bourdieu, Pierre (red.), The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society. Cambridge: Polity Press. (19 p.)

Bourdieu, Pierre, Boltanski, Luc, Castel, Robert, Chamboredon, Jean-Claude & Schnapper, Dominique (1996[1965]). Photography: A Middle-Brow Art. Cambridge: Polity Press. (232 p.)

Cartier, Marie, Coutant, Isabelle Masclet, Olivier, Siblot, Yasmine (2016), The France of the Little-Middles. New York: Berghahn Books. (p. 224)

Darmon, Muriel (2016), Becoming Anorexic. A sociological study. London: Routledge. (p. 276)

Goffman, Alice (2014), On the run: Fugitive life in an American City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (277 p.)

Guillemin, Marilys & Gillam, Lynn (2004), “Ethics, reflexivity and 'ethically important moments'” in research. Qualitative Inquiery, 10 (2), p. 261-280. (19 p.)

Hage, G. (2009), “Hating Israel in the Field On ethnography and political emotions", Anthropological Theory, 9 (1), 59-79. (20 p.)

Jacobsson, Katarina & Åkerström, Malin (2012), “Interviewees with an agenda: learning from a ‘failed’ interview”, Qualitative Research, 13 (6), pp. 717-734. (17 p.)

Khan, Shamus Rahman (2012), Privilege, The making of an adolescent elite at St. Paul's school, Princeton University Press, (248 p.)

Laurens, Sylvain (2020), “Is a Participant Objectivation of Elites and Symbolic Power Possible?” in Denord, Francois, Palme Mikael & Réau, Bertrand (eds), Researching Elites and Power: Theory, Methods, Analyses Series 16. Paris: Denord, p. 253-263 (10 p.)

Lignier, Wilfried (2019), “The discovery of symbolic violence: How toddlers learn to prevail with words”, Ethnography, p. 246- 266. (20 p.)

Marcus, George E., (1995) “Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography”, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 24, pp. 95-117. (22 p.)

Silverman, D. (2017), “How was it for you? The Interview Society and the irresistible rise of the (poorly analyzed) interview” , Qualitative Research, 17 (2): 144-158. (14 p.)

Van Maanen, John (2011), “Tales of the Field – On Writing Ethnography”. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. (216 p.)

Weston, C., Gandell, T., Beauchamp, J. et al. (2001), “Analyzing Interview Data: The Development and Evolution of a Coding System”, Qualitative Sociology, 24: 381- 400. (19 p.)

Willis, Paul & Trondman, Mats (2002); “Manifesto for Ethnography”, Cultural studies, critical methodologies vol. 2, nr 3 394-402. (8 p.)

200 p. unspecified literature

Total: 1888 p. Each student chooses 1500 p. from the literature list.

Sessions, selection

(For the full course schedule, see the Studium platform)


Introduction to the course

Sept. 1st at 10.15-12.00
Teachers: Ida Lidegran & Emma Laurin

Session 1. Close reading of P. Bourdieu, "Comprendre" (Understanding")

Sept. 1st at 13.15-16.30
Teacher: Donald Broady

The first session on the course will be devoted to discussions on only one short text: P. Bourdieu, “Comprendre”, pp. 903-925 in P. Bourdieu et al, La misère du monde, Seuil, Paris 1993. (English transl. ”Understanding”, pp. 607–626 in The Weight of the World, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999).

Please read the text in advance, and when we meet bring a paper printout or a digital version to view on your screen.

I hope that a close reading of this remarkable text will serve as a point of departure for discussions on a number of key questions concerning so called ”qualitative methods” and how those are to be used within the framework of sociological endeavours.

There will be no lecture with PowerPoint slides. We will simply sit around the table and explore the text, almost page by page, try to decipher the meaning of the dense formulations (which call for digressions into different aspects of Bourdieu’s sociology) and discuss the implications for conducting so called qualitive research (i.e. research using techniques such as interviews and ethnographic observation).

Digital versions of the French text and the English translation will be made available to the participants. Even if you normally do not read French it might be a good idea to be able to check the wordings of single key passages or notions. Refuse be the translator’s victim!


Session 2a.

Sept. 2nd at 10.15-12.00
Teacher: Mikael Palme

This seminar will address how theoretical perspectives, research questions, the collection and treatment of empirical data, and, finally, the analysis and presentation of findings are related and carried through in some of the empirical ethnographic studies in the course literature. A point of departure is the tension between objectivist and subjectivist perspectives in ethnographic research: On the one hand, to what extent – and how – is the social world under study explored as an order that surpass individual experiences and representations? On the other, how is “subjectivity”, i.e. individuals’ motives, ideas, experiences and driving forces dealt with? And how are the two connected in ethnographic research? How is their relation conceptualized in key concepts, methods of data collection and methods of analysis?

Two texts will serve as points of departure for the seminars. One is added to the course literature: Pierre Bourdieu’s short article “L’illusion biographique” (The Biographical Illusion”) that connects to the same author’s “Comprendre” (“Understanding”) focused on in the opening seminar with Donald Broady. See Bourdieu, P. “L’illusion biographique”, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, Vol. 62-63, 1986, pp. 69-72; available at Engl. translation by Ywes Winkin and Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz from 1987, “The biographical Illusion”, available at

A second point of departure for the seminar is Sylvain Laurens’s book chapter appearing in the literature list, “Is a Participant Objectivation of Elites and Symbolic Power Possible?”.

Course participants are expected to be familiar with both these texts.

The course literature commented on, briefly or more extensively, at the seminar comprise the following authors: Aarseth, Bourdieu et al, Cartier et al, Darmon, Goffman, Khan, Lignier. Participants are encouraged to have a brief look at the research aims, the character of the methods of data collection and data analysis and the key concepts operating in the analysis. What becomes of the social as objectively existing order and of subjective experience and representations?


Session 2b

Sept. 2nd at 13.15-17.00
Teacher: Mikael Palme

There is an expectancy that part of the introductory seminars of the course on September 1st and 2nd will address some of the shifting “practical” or “applied” issues related to the inseparably theoretical and methodological choices that the ethnographer has to confront.

Therefore, the second session on Friday, September 2nd, will take the shape of a discussion of such issues that are relevant to course participants’ research. These issues or topics could relate to any dimension of ethnographic research, for example sampling, collection of data through for example interviews or observation, handling and analysis of collected data, writing and structuring academic texts on the basis of ethnography, or other topics.

Course participants are invited to prepare questions related to such topics. I do not expect to be able to “answer” them, but will do my best to comment and lead a general discussion on them. If possible, send proposals for issues to be discussed in an email to me ( before Thursday evening. That way, I will get at least some time to reflect upon them and to consider how the proposed topics connect to each other.


Session 3a. Social mobility within and beyond the working classes: a localised analysis

Sept 15th at 10.15 – 12.00
Teacher: Yasmine Siblot

Presentation of Marie Cartier, Isabelle Coutant, Olivier Masclet & Yasmine Siblot, The France of the little-middles. A Suburban Housing Development in Greater Paris, Berghahn Books, 2016 (paperback edition July 2019; French edition 2008).

The book addresses social class mobility, immigration, and politics in a French lower-middle- class suburban housing development from the 1960s. It examines “old-timers’” attachment to forms of housing and lifestyle in relation to their youthful aspirations, the social and political consequences of changing prospects for socio-economic class mobility, and the arrival of new populations of primarily immigrant origins in the neighborhood. Based on an ethnographic field study, the book culminates in an analysis of the neighborhood’s voting practices up through the 2007 presidential elections, connecting the rightward political shift to the inhabitants’ social anxieties. After a general presentation of the empirical and theoretical frame of the research and the main results we will focus of the issue of socialization and schooling of the youngsters.

To read: The following chapters from The France of the little-middles :
• Chapter 1 " From Petit-Bourgeois to Little-Middle" + appendix
• Chapter 3 " Suburban Youth"

Session 3b. Working Class Lifestyle : the emergence of new gender relations in the family

Sept 15th at 13.15-15.00
Teacher: Marie Cartier

Presentation of the book To Be like Everyone Else: Subaltern Workers in Contemporary France (eds. livier Masclet, Thomas Amossé, Lise Bernard, Marie Cartier, Marie-Hélène Lechien, Olivier Schwartz & Yasmine Siblot) to be published in English by Routledge in 2023 (French edition 2020).

First we will give an overview of the book, focusing on methodological issues : how to contextualize in-depth portraits of households with statiscal analyses of change in the structure of the employment market and in the structure of households and alliances ? How the statistical analyse of internal structure of the working classes is used to frame the collect of qualitative data ?). We will also highlight the main results (how important conjugal stability is to social stability, the emergence of a new relationship to institutions marked by a will to play by the social rules without necessarily believing in them). We will finally focus on the second part of the book and look at the transformation and the reproduction of gender roles in the working class families.

To read :
The following chapters from To Be like Everyone Else:
• T. Amossé, L. Bernard, M. Cartier, M.-H. Lechien, and Y. Siblot, Chap 2, “An exploration
of the working classes starting from their middle fractions: A two-pronged approach,
through statistics and case studies”
• M. Cartier, Chap 14 “Régine and Hervé. The power of two femininities”

• M. Cartier, M. Letrait, M. Sorin, “Domestic work: Are the working classes
conservative?”, Travail, genre et sociétés, Volume 39, Issue 1, 2018, p. 63-81: available
on Cairn international.


Sept 15th at 15.15-17.00
Teachers: Ida Lidegran & Emma Laurin

Session 4a. Including migrations and ethno-racial relations in the analysis of social

Sept 16th at 10.15-12.00
Teacher: Yasmine Siblot

We will focus of the ways social class analysis in France has been renewed by the inclusion of migrations and mobilities, and by the articulation of class with gender and ethno-racial social dimensions. After a general presentation recent works and empirical and theoretical debates and propositions we will discuss a case study concerning Portuguese migrants in France, aiming to articulation a comparison of the social classes in rance and Portugal and a study of feminine migrations.

To read :
• Hugrée Cédric, Siblot Yasmine, "France: The dynamics of internal changes within a persistent class structure"in Hjellbrekke Johs, Hugrée Cédric, Penissat Etienne, Spire Alexis (eds.), Class Boundaries in Europe. The Bourdieusian approach in perspective, Routledge, 2022.
• Bréant, Hugo, Sébastien Chauvin & Ana Portilla. "Social capital and the challenges of international migration", Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, vol. 225, no. 5, 2018, pp. 8-13.
• Siblot, Yasmine : "(Re)making a life" in migration for Portuguese women in the 2000s" (English version of "« (Re)faire sa vie » en migration pour des femmes portugaises au cours des années 2000", in Dos Santos Irène and Ferreira Sónia (eds), Migrations portugaises : penser les impensés, to be published in 2022 or 2023.)

Session 4b. Studying subaltern care jobs in France without miserabilism to better
understand the internal structure of working classes

Sept 16th at 13.15-15.00
Teacher: Marie Cartier

Care jobs are highly regulated by social policies in France and the share of migrant care workers is lower than in other European Countries. Though research on home-based care jobs (home care assistants, childcare providers…) in France has often focused on migrant care workers and has mainly highlighted the legal and financial insecurity of these jobs and their heavy demand in time. To complement such observations, we will shed light on the internal hierarchy of care work and on the specificities of home-based direct employment. We will depict a process of rights appropriation concerning the licensed home-based childcare providers and we will question the balance of power when care workers face individual employers from diverse social backgrounds who often do not understand very well their role as employer.

To read:

• Marie Cartier, "Workers on Welfare Markets and the Appropriation of Their Rights: The Case of Mothers Assistants in France since 1977", The Dynamics of Welfare Markets. Private Pensions and Domestic/Care Service in Europe, Palgrave Macmillan (eds C. Ledoux, K. Shire & F. van Hooren), 2021, p.399-422.
• Marie Cartier & Christelle Avril, "Subordination in home service jobs. Comparing providers of home-based childcare, elder care and cleaning in France", Gender& Society, vol. 28, n°4, 2014, p. 609-630.
• Eve Meuret-Campfort, "Being Dependent and an Employer : the Realities of Private Individual Employment for Dependant Elderly People in France", The Dynamics of Welfare Markets. Private Pensions and Domestic/Care Service in Europe, Palgrave Macmillan (eds C. Ledoux, K. Shire & F. van Hooren), 2021, p.215-237.


Sept 16th at 15.15-17.00
Teachers: Ida Lidegran & Emma Laurin




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