Research – current and earlier research projects

The research project aims to examine the mechanisms and factors that contributed the academic success of students from households with low or no educational experience, or parents with low or no income (on welfare). In this study we will focus on how these students attained academic disposition that allowed to them to embark on a successful academic trajectory. In collecting the data we will elaborate with different qualitative data collection techniques to capture the complex interplays between resources, strategies these students activated to embark on the successful academic career. The project is funded by Swedish Research Council 2017-2021.

The research team

Associate professor, Director: Ali Osman, Stockholm University, email:
Associate professor, Carina Carlhed, Stockholm University, email:
Professor Niclas Månsson, Mälardalen University, email:

She has contributed with Swedish data to the international research project ’Drawing the global access to post-secondary education map’ initiated by The GAPS (Global Access to Post-Secondary Education) initiative , GAPS is initiated and led by European Access Network and is supported by a consortium of organisations across the world. The aim is to build a global map which illustrates inequality in different countries and how it is measured.

She was one of the national experts in the EU-project ”Study on dropout and completion in higher education in Europe – HEDOCE”, directed by the research consortium of members from the research groups CHEPS,  University of Twente and NIFU, Norway. Published reports from the project are found here

Funded by the Swedish Research Council. VR UVK, 2010-2015. Directed by Carina Carlhed. The aim of the project is to study patterns in higher education in Sweden with special attention to students who dropout or switch to another program/discipline. Different types and frequencies of dropouts and switches during 1977-2007 are studied using data from retrievals from national register data (microdata). Special attention is towards the programs in Architecture, Engineering, Nursing, Law, Social work, Medicine and Clinical Psychology. The theoretical framework is mainly Pierre Bourdieu´s work on social reproduction and geometric data analysis is used as a main method. Factors as socioeconomic, residential, gender and ethnicity, living conditions, grades, family educational traditions will be related to the types of dropouts/switches and different programs.

Directed by Thomas Brante, Lund University, funded by the Swedish Research Council, VR HS, 2011-2013,  The main objective of the study is to provide a comprehensive view of the historical emergence of the professional stratum and in detail explore its current conditions, dynamics and functions, and its varying relations to society at large. A second objective is to use the empirical material for contributing to the theoretical development of studies of professions, esp. by proposing an alternative definition of the concept and phenomenon of profession.

Funded by the Swedish Research Council 2012-2017. Directed by Martin Gustavsson, Stockholm School of Economics, SCORE. ”Collaborators: Donald Broady, Carina Carlhed and Andreas Melldahl

Funded by Vetenskapsrådet, U (The Swedish Research Council), Jan 2007-dec 2009. Directed by Mikael Börjesson. Collaborators: Dag Blanck, Donald Broady, Carina Carlhed, Alexander Ekelund, Bo G. Ekelund, Ida Lidegran, Mikael Rask Madsen, Andreas Melldahl, Franck Poupeau, Anne Catherine Wagner.

The dissertation examines the formation of specific groups, their interests and positions related to children with disabilities and their education and care in Sweden developed during 1960-1980. The theoretical framework is based on Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory of social space, which assumes that social life is based on symbolic and cultural systems of beliefs with respectively specific doxas and symbolic economies. Consequently, the analysis has focused on the agents’ position-takings and their struggle for recognition and preferential rights of interpretations. The reconstruction of a “habilitation sphere” was conducted through agents, their positions of interests and position-takings as analytical tools. The positions were mainly reconstructed on articles in journals of 10 professional organizations covering 6 occupations and 4 disability organizations. The occupational groups were paediatric doctors/child psychiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists and pre-school teachers. The other positions were related to the county council union, four disability organizations (DHR, FUB, RBU and HCK), two of which were parent organizations and in addition, the research field of social medicine. Other materials were e.g. reports of commissions of inquiry. In order to explore the social foundations of the occupational positions, materials from archives have been used. The conclusion shows the significance of: a) historical structures related to the exceptional position of medicine in society, the development of the Swedish health care system in general and the organizations of “special” children, b) commissions of inquiry as consecration authorities and processes of social mobilization, both important contributions in shaping symbolic economies, c) myths and ideologies in the exercising of symbolic power, d) alliances between the state and medicine, and between occupational groups and clients. The analysis also shows the strengths of the doxas which could work as a shield for the agents but also as obstacles for external agents when entering the habilitation sphere. Keywords: habilitation services, children, handicap, disability, medicine, social workers, counsellors, pre-school teachers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, parent organizations, disability organizations, symbolic power, sociology of culture.

Pilot study using the theoretical framework elaborated by Pierre Bourdieu during 2007. Funded by Sunnerdahls handikappfond, Collaboration with Kerstin Göransson, Mälardalen University.

A case study analyzing documents, using interviews and a questionnaire, In Uppsala county and three habilitation centers.

Document studies, interviews with executives and teamleaders in the Child and Youth habilitation in the counties of Sörmland, Uppsala och Dalarna. Directed by: Eva Björck-Åkesson. Collaborators: Mats Granlund and Carina Carlhed, Mälardalen University Funded by Swedish Research Council. 2000 -2003.

Data collection and analysis using quantitative and qualitative designs in several sub studies. Statistical analysis (i.e. CFA – Confirmatory factor analysis and multivariate structural equation modeling SEM. Directed by: Eva Björck-Åkesson, Mälardalen University.