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Johannes Lunneblad

Research in the area of culture and health can problematise social injustice in today's Sweden. This is emphasised by Johannes Lunneblad, Reader of Pedagogy at the University of Gothenburg.
– It is important that a society that calls itself a welfare society provides equal health opportunities for everyone, which unfortunately is far from the case today, Lunneblad says.

You have approached the reception of newly-arrived refugee children of pre-school age from a health perspective?
– Yes, this was a task within the recently concluded research project "Barnens bästa" (what is best for the child), where I collaborated with Angered's city administration. The reception of refugee children is a subject that concerns health in broad terms. The social environment in which you live – it affects both how people feel and what chances they get in life.
– It is evident how one from state and municipal government can work to strengthen refugee families in their everyday lives. Some families have been through traumatic events that influence their possibilities of taking care of their children. It is important to be able to offer them support and safe havens in life, while still recognising their role as parents.

What are society's support structures for meeting the needs of refugees who have recently arrived here?
– While the project was underway the responsibility for the refugees' introduction into society actually was transferred from the municipalities to the Swedish Public Employment Agency. Thereby, quite a few established functions disappeared, not least the collaboration between the so-called introduction units, physicians and child welfare centres. A consequence of this was that there no longer was anyone who had a coordinating function or an overview of where the newly-arrived refugee children were staying, which made it difficult for us in the project to even locate them. In a way the reform entailed important gathered knowledge being lost, both medical and social knowledge.

You are generally doing research on young suburban people from a social justice perspective?
– I am today collaborationg with Ove Sernhede, who is a youth culture researcher and Professor at the Department of Pedagogy, Communication and Learning. We are foremost interested in ethnic and social segregation, as well as how society's social structures influence how young people feel and what choices they can make in life. Not least, schools contribute in shaping people's self-image, and in many cases suburban schools reproduce a feeling of hopelessness – a sense that one will never make anything of oneself. Concurrently, we are studying the contrary stories that young people themselves create about their possibilities and their place in society.

Might one say that you want to provide an alternative vantage point?
– Many of the expectations on research today revolves around getting quick answers, for example how to get people into jobs or raise their grades at school. But it is important to conduct in-depth investigations into social structures and how people experience their lives. I myself work in accordance with an ethnographic method, which means that I follow and study people in their day-to-day lives.
– Research that is sensitive to people's daily lives often produces more complex answers than do quantative studies. But statistical perspectives are of course very important – I use and build much of my research on statistical surveys.

Personal facts

Profession: reader of pedagogy
Age: 42 years
Family: yes
Research interests: questions around children and young people's growing up environment
Driving force: several: angry about the societal development, but fun to learn and to develop as a researcher
Leisure interests: reading, music

[Interview by Daniel Brodén and published 2013-09-25]

Contact Information

Centre for Culture and Health

Box 200, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

Page Manager: Lovisa Aijmer|Last update: 10/4/2013
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