Overview of research projects sites

Aim of the project

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: ali.osman@edu.su.se
Associate professor, Carina Carlhed, Stockholm University, email: carina.carlhed@edu.su.se
Professor Niclas Månsson, Södertörn University, email: niclas.mansson@sh.se


Carlhed Ydhag, C., Månsson, N., & Osman, A. (2021). Momentums of success, illusio and habitus: high-achieving upper secondary students’ reasons for seeking academic success. International Journal of Educational Research 109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2021.101805

Månsson, N., Carlhed Ydhag, C., & Osman, A. (2021). I skuggan av kulturellt kapital. – om konsten att omforma habitus för skolframgång [In the shadow of cultural capital – the art of transforming habitus for school success]. Nordic Studies in Education 41(2), 130–147.doi.org/10.23865/nse.v41.2353

Osman, A., Carlhed Ydhag, C., & Månsson, N. (2020). Recipe for Educational Success:  A study of successful school performance of students from low social cultural backgroundInternational Studies in Sociology of Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2020.1764379


Osman, A., Månsson, N. & Carlhed Ydhag, C. (submitted). The significance of significant others: the perspective of high-achieving students of different backgrounds.

Månsson, N. & Osman, A. (submitted). Designing a research project: The pitfalls of implementing deskwork research design (submitted). Qualitative Research.


Carlhed Ydhag, C., Månsson, N. & Osman, A. (2020). Momentums of success and habitus: High-achieving upper secondary school students’ reasons to seek success in school. Presented in NW 4, at NERA, 4-6th March 2020, University of Turku Finland.

Osman, A., Månsson, N. & Carlhed Ydhag, C. (2020). The significance of significant others: the perspective of high achieving students from different backgrounds. Presented in NW 18, at NERA, 4-6th March 2020, University of Turku, Finland.

Carlhed Ydhag, C., Månsson, N. & Osman, A. (2019). Roadmaps and momentums of success: Upper secondary school students’ motivations and experiences of how to succeed in school. Presented at the conference ‘Critical perspectives on agency and social justice in transitions and career development’, in Copenhagen 23-24 October 2019.

Osman, A., Carlhed, C & Månsson, N. (2018). Following the Footprints of Resilient Youth: Mapping Social Networks of High Achieving Students in Upper Secondary School. Presentation at the ECER European Conference on Educational Research conference “Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research“, 3-7 Sep 2018, Bolzano; Italy

Osman, A., Carlhed, C & Månsson, N. (2017).   Following the Footprints of Resilient Students: Challenges in Mapping Social Networks of Students in Upper Secondary School, “Transitions, career learning and career management skills. Multi-disciplinary and critical perspectives”, October 19-20, 2017, Stockholm University

Graveled expectations or successful reorientations. Switchers and dropouts from Swedish Higher education 1977-2007

The project generated three studies:

Study I – enrolment patterns in higher education, and to study efficiency and completion among students in programmes with professional qualifications

Study II – case study at one local university, a survey directed at three cohorts of students at risk of dropout from the university and on student record data and interviews with students

Study III – the striving for comparative measures of dropout and continuation in European Higher Education and consequences of this for the ways that scientific knowledge is produced

Study I

1) Which forms of dropouts and transfers can be identified?
2) How are the different forms of dropouts and transfers associated with different student categories?

The overall aim of the study was to analyse enrolment patterns in higher education, and to study efficiency and completion among students in programmes with professional qualifications. More specifically, to study how Swedish students use higher education and how their trajectories relate to the students’ social and cultural resources. Factors as socioeconomic, residential, gender and ethnicity, living conditions, grades, family educational traditions were related to the types of dropouts/transfers and different programs.

The theoretical framework was mainly Pierre Bourdieu’s work on social reproduction and other contributions from international sociology of education researchers.

The theoretical underpinning in the design is constructed through concepts developed and used by Pierre Bourdieu such as social space and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986, 1989). Social space is understood as a social structure. Like a geographical space, regions could be identified within a social space, but here it is constructed by social distances. That is, the closer the individuals are in the social space under study, the more common properties they share and the reverse, the more distant they are, the fewer properties they have in common (Bourdieu, 1989). The properties, i.e. the students’ social and cultural resources are operationalised according to the notion of cultural capital, which are embodied and accumulated through the individuals’ socialisation within the family, the social class and society (Bourdieu, 1986). The students’ relative positions and positioning in the social structure, here in terms of a specific social space of higher education, are analysed by the type and amount of cultural capital that the students possess. Educational capital is a sub-form of cultural capital, which can be inherited from the level of the parents’ education or earned by students’ own achievements in school, such as grades. The embodiment of cultural capital lies more or less implicitly in the educational strategies that students show when they make choices to enrol in an educational path at a specific university at a given period of time in their lives. The educational strategies were then matched with the variables in the data emanating from official statistics covering national enrolment data and population data.

The students’ educational strategies were operationalised and matched with existing or constructed variables derived from the data in terms of:
• preferences in the choice of the different study programmes and different universities at different periods in life. Thus, the age and family situation when they entered the study programme were central in the analysis.
• mobility and time lapses of study; for example, no time-outs/pauses during their studies or single/multiple pauses or different lengths of pauses. Mobility was operationalised in terms of staying at one university or transferring, staying within one discipline domain/scientific branch or moving between different scientific domains, taking extra courses besides the specific programme.
• preparing themselves/compensating for poor qualifications from upper secondary school by taking an aptitude test (SWESAT-test).
• choosing to work while taking courses, and/or using study finance.
• formal ideal performance goals were also accounted for, such as achieving their goals in terms of earning credits in relation to the amount they had registered for, achieving a diploma/degree within the normal timeframe , or dropping out.

From the analysis of the educational strategies different patterns emerged and were constructed as different dimensions of the social space of educational strategies in higher education that is, patterns of enrolment, efficiency and completion.

Dissemination – study I

Carlhed, C. (2017). The Social Space of Educational Strategies: Exploring Patterns of Enrolment, Efficiency and Completion among Swedish Students in Undergraduate Programmes with Professional Qualifications.Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.Download article here (preprint) or link to Journal’s homepage and published article. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2016.1172496

Carlhed, C. (2016). Familjebakgrund avgör strategi för högre studier. Det sociala rummet av utbildningsstrategier. I Vetenskapsrådet (Red.) (2016). Resultatdialog 2016. Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet., s 28-35. https://publikationer.vr.se/produkt/resultatdialog-2016/

Carlhed, C. (2014). Studiemönster och avhopp inom högskolan. Sju yrkesprogram i fokus. Presented at the conference INCLUDE: Utbildning för alla? Uppsala May 8-9th 2014

Carlhed, C. (2013), Exploring pathways in university education – study patterns among students in undergraduate programs with professional qualifications. Presented at the conference Gender and Education. Compelling Diversities, Educational Intersections: Policy, Practice, Parity, Tuesday 23 to Friday 26 April 2013, The Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research at London South Bank University

Carlhed, C. (2011). Graveled Expectations or Successful Reorientations? Switchers and Dropouts in Higher Education in Sweden 1977-2007. 9th Annual Conference Hawaii International Conference on Education, January 4-7, 2011, Honolulu.

Study II

In a case study at one local university the research questions were connected to two sets of data; The quantitative data (the survey data and data from the student record [LADOK]) and the interview data. The data was based on a survey directed at three cohorts of students at risk of dropout from the university (2006, 2011, 2012, n=203) and on student record data (LADOK) of all students in the three cohorts (n=708) and interviews with 31 students.

Research questions from the survey/student record data collection:
• The study aims to explore and explain risk factors as well as protective factors for student dropout from teacher training programmes in Sweden and to analyse the results in relation to the international patterns of structural differences in low completion rates

Research questions from the interviews:
• What are the experiences of students regarding studying at the Teacher training programmes? How are the enduring and recurring experiences shaping paths and horizons related to their studies, which become i.e. “possible”, “desirable”, “impossible” or “manageable”? How do the paths change and how are the horizons renegotiated or reinforced? How are academic success constructed by the students? How do they see themselves being at-risk for dropping out or being stragglers? Do the experiences differ in relation to age, gender, social background, migration or educational setting?

Dissemination study II

Carlhed Ydhag, C. (2018). Narratives of Teacher Training students who postponed their studies. Presentation at the ECER European Conference on Educational Research conference “Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research“, 3-7 Sep 2018, Bolzano; Italy

Carlhed, C. (2016). The Impact of Students’ Financial Situation on Dropping out from Professional Degree Programmes in Sweden. Presented at the conference Nordic Fields of Higher Education – Organisation, Expansion and Recruitment, Session 6: Financing Higher Education, 28-29.9.2016 – Uppsala, Sweden

Carlhed, C. (2015). Vid den normala studietaktens utkanter. Analyser av studieavbrott på lärarutbildningar vid Uppsala universitet. Rapporter från Forskningsgruppen för utbildnings- och kultursociologi / SEC Research Reports, 54

Carlhed, C. (2015). Pursuers, Dropouts and Transfers – Educational strategies within the Teacher Programmes. Presented at ECER – European Educational Research Conference 2015 ”Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research”, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, September 7th-11th 2015

Carlhed, C. (2014), Dropouts and pursuers from the teacher programs – a local study. Presented at the conference Nordic Fields of Higher Education, Wednesday 8th to Thursday 9th 2014, NIFU, Nordisk institutt for studier av innovasjon, forskning og utdanning, Oslo, Norway.

Study III

The aim of the study was to analyse and discuss the striving for comparative measures of dropout and continuation in European Higher Education and consequences of this for the ways that scientific knowledge is produced. The analysis theme ‘Resistances’ is associated with the critical sociological perspective, which further enables symbolic, epistemological and methodological questioning of the knowledge production of the phenomenon student progression in HE. The study is based in critical sociology and uses theoretical tools mainly from Pierre Bourdieu’s perspective on social space and symbolic power (1989) and draws on Alain Desrosières’ work on controversies in statistical reasoning (1998). The empirical materials are statistics from statistics agencies in Sweden; The Swedish Higher Education Authority and Statistics Sweden, and from the Higher Education Statistics Agency HESA and Higher Education Funding Council for England HEFCE in the UK, and statistics from OECD documents, as well as from Eurostat and Eurydice. Analysis of policy texts from the EU, the European Commission, such as ”Education and Training 2020” (ET 2020), documents from ESS and the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC) and data collection manuals are compared and analysed. Practices of knowledge production in the student progress area, in terms of measurement practices within the standardisation agenda, as well as the measures per se are analysed. Particular interest is directed towards analysis of measurement practices in terms of comparability between different measures in different countries, where examples of measures used in Sweden and the UK are the main cases.

Dissemination study III

Carlhed Ydhag, C. (2019). Understanding the complexity in measuring student progression in European higher education. Special issue: Student dropout in Higher education. Hungarian Educational Research Journal 9(2), 1-25.  

Carlhed Ydhag, C. (2018). Different position takings in statistical reasoning – European educational policy evaluation practices and the position of critical educational research. Paper presented at the International Symposium Governing by numbers at international scale. New relationships between the State and Professions in Education?, University of Strasbourg (France) 08-09 October 2018.

Carlhed, C. (2017). Resistances to scientific knowledge production of comparative measurements of dropout and completion in European Higher Education” doi:10.1177/1474904116667363European Educational Research Journal.

Carlhed, C. (2016). Resistances to scientific knowledge production of comparative measurements of dropout and completion in European Higher Education. Paper presented at ECER conference: ”Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers”, University College Dublin 22-26 August, 2016

Study loans, wage and wealth within higher education. Social groups and their study financing, 1998-2006

Studenterna i den svenska högskolan har inte bara ökat explosionsartat de senaste tjugo åren, de har också blivit fattigare. På en övergripande nivå vet vi att studiemedelsbeloppen inte är tillräckliga för att täcka studenternas levnadsomkostnader, men vi vet inte var i det svenska utbildningslandskapet och för vilka grupper de statliga studiemedlen är särdeles otillräckliga. I detta projekt undersöker vi studenternas bruk av statliga studiemedel men också deras inkomster från olika källor samt ärvda och förvärvade förmögenheter. Vi kartlägger alltså studenternas hela ekonomiska handlingsutrymme, det vill säga de materiella förutsättningarna för att i praktiken kunna ”Välja fritt och välja rätt” i utbildningssystemet (Jämför SOU 2008:69, Välja fritt och välja rätt: drivkrafter för rationella utbildningsval).

Projektet består av tre delstudier. I den första kartläggs hur olika typer av ekonomiska resurser är fördelade i hela högskolelandskapet, i den andra undersöks hur studiefinansieringen (eller bristen därav) är relaterad till avhopp från utbildningar och i den tredje analyseras – för ett strategiskt urval av sociala grupper – kopplingen mellan ekonomiska resurser och val av utbildning i högskolan. Vi är också intresserade av hur ekonomiska tillgångar (lån, lön, förmögenhet) samspelar med utbildningsmässiga tillgångar (betyg etc.), samt hur allt detta har förändrats mellan 1998 och 2006.

Projektet är finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet (VR). Förutom Martin Gustavsson (projektledare) deltar Andreas Melldahl, Donald Broady och Carina Carlhed (alla tre vid Uppsala universitet).


Carlhed, C. (2016). The Impact of Students’ Financial Situation on Dropping out from Professional Degree Programmes in Sweden. Presented at the conference Nordic Fields of Higher Education – Organisation, Expansion and Recruitment, Session 6: Financing Higher Education, 28-29.9.2016 – Uppsala, Sweden

Carriers of the Knowledge Society

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.

Methodologically, the study employs a comparative method for case studies, called ”structured, focused, comparative case-study.” The fields are described from a number of shared clusters of questions keeping the study together.

The study is conducted by a research team specializing in research on the professions, belonging to sociology, educational science, and  social work research. They come from the Swedish universities of Lund, Uppsala, Gothenburg, and the Linnéus University, as well as Bergen University, Norway. Two researchers with specialist competence are responsible for each field

Dissemination – The field of Medicine

Carlhed Ydhag, C. (2020). Uppkomsten av ett professionellt medicinskt fält. Läkares, sjuksköterskors och laboratorieassistenters formering. [The rise of a professional medical field. The formation of doctors, nurses and laboratory assistants]. Monograph in Stockholm Studies in Education, Stockholm University Press, 221 pp). Open access https://doi.org./10.16993/bbc

Carlhed Ydhag, C. (2019). Det medicinska fältet. (The medical field). In Thomas Brante, Kerstin Svensson & Lennart G Svensson (Eds). Det professionella landskapets framväxt. [The rise of the professional landscape]. Lund: Studentlitteratur. (67 p).

Carlhed, C. (2013). The rise of the professional field of Medicine in Sweden. Professions & Professionalism. Vol.3, no 2, p. 562.Carlhed, C. (2012). The rise of the professional field of Health and its hegemony – doctors, nurses and biomedical analysts in Sweden. Paper presented at the conference Professioner – Gamle autoriteter og ny legitimitet Det nordiske netværk i professionsforskning, NORPRO, 25-26 oktober 2012, VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark.

Carlhed, C. (2012). Social processes in the rise of the hegemonic medicine in Sweden – hinges and avatars in question. Paper presented at the conference Scientific Knowledge and Systems of Professions IUC, 7th – 11th May 2012, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Carlhed, C. (2011). Fält, habitus och kapital som kompletterande redskap i professionsforskning. [Field, habitus and capital as supplementing tools in research on professions.] Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift. nr 4:2011, 283-300.

Research Group – Carriers of Knowledge Society

Project manager

Thomas Brante
Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Lund University
Email: Thomas.Brante@soc.lu.se

The field of the academy
Gunnar Olofsson
Professor, Department of Sociology, Linnaeus University, Växjö
mail: Gunnar.Olofsson@lnu.se

Ola Agevall
Professor, Department of Sociology, Linnaeus University, Växjö
mail: Ola.Agevall@lnu.se

The field of education
Dennis Beach
Professor, School of Education and Behavioural Sciences, University of Boras
Email: Dennis.Beach@hb.se

Margareta Nilsson Lindström
Senior lecturer, Sociology, Lund University
Email: Margareta.Nilsson-Lindstrom@soc.lu.se

The field of health
Carina Carlhed
Associate professor, Department of Education, Uppsala University
Email: Carina.Carlhed@edu.uu.se

Eva Palmblad
PhD, Senior lecturer, Associate Professor
E-mail: eva.palmblad@socwork.gu.se

Sune Sunesson
Professor, School of Social Work, Lund University
Email: Sune.Sunesson@soch.lu.se

The field of technology
Glenn Sjöstrand
Associate professor, Department of Social Science, Linneaus University, Växjö
Email: Glenn.Sjostrand@lnu.se

Mats Benner
Professor, Institute of Research Policy, Lund University
Email: Mats.Benner@fpi.lu.se

The field of social integration
Eva Johnsson
Associate professor, School of Social Work, Lund University
mail: Eva.Johnsson@soch.lu.se

Lennart G Svensson
Professor emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Gothenburg
Email: Lennart.Svensson@socav.gu.se

The field of social control
Kerstin Svensson
Professor, School of Social Work, Lund University
Email: Kerstin.Svensson@soch.lu.se

Karsten Åström
Professor, Department of Sociology of Law, Lund University
Email: Karsten.Astrom@soclaw.lu.se

Research assistant
Karin Kullberg

Senior lecturer, School of Social Work, Lund University
Email: Karin.Kullberg@soch.lu.se

The glow and shadows of the Medicine. Doxa and symbolic power in the area of services to young children with disabilities 1960―1980


Carlhed, C. (2009). The glow and shadows of Medicine. 3rd ISIH – In Sickness and in Health international conference “Government of the Self in the Clinic & Community”, April 15 – 17, 2009, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Carlhed, C. (2009). Om tru, førestilling og symbolsk makt innan habiliteringa 1960 – 1980; Eit empirisk arbeid med bruk av Bourdieu sine omgrep. Inbjuden gästföreläsare på konferensen ”Livshistorieforsking og kvalitative intervju med fokus på Pierre Bourdieus forståing, metodologiske refleksjonar og praktiske tilnærming”, 17- 18. november 2009, Institutt for samfunnsmedisinske fag, Universitetet i Bergen, Norge.

Carlhed, C. (2008). Pionjärer, avfällingar och kättare. [Pioneers, Renegades and Heretics]. I Petersen, K-A. & Høyen, M. (Red.). At sætte spor på en vandring fra Aquinas til Bourdieu – æresbog til Staf Callewaert. Hexis forlag, s 257-272.

Carlhed, C. (2008). Pioneers, renegades and heretics. Paper presented at NFPF/NERA 36th Congress of Nordic Educational Research Association in Copenhagen, March 6 – 8, 2008.

Carlhed, C. (2008). I skuggan av medicinen. Föreläsning vid tvådagarsseminarium ”Bourdieu-seminar” 17-18 april 2008, Høgskolen i Harstad, Institutt for helse- och sosialfag, Norge

Carlhed, C. (2008). I skuggan av medicinen. Föreläsning vid tvådagarsseminarium ”Bourdieu-seminar” 17-18 april 2008, Høgskolen i Harstad, Institutt for helse- och sosialfag, Norge

Carlhed, C. (2007). Medicinens lyskraft och skuggor. Om trosföreställningar och symbolisk makt inom habiliteringen 1960―1980. [The Glow and Shadows of the Medicine. Doxa and Symbolic Power in the area of Services to Young Children with Disabilities 1960-1980]. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Studies in Education 116. PhD dissertation.

Carlhed, C. (2006). Habiliteringsfältets genes och struktur. Paper presenterat vid 3:e Pedagogikhistoriska konferensen, Lärarhögskolan i Stockholm, 28-29 september, 2006

Carlhed, C. (2006). Genesis and Structure of the Habilitation field. Presentation vid workshop. Viborg, 14-16 juni, 2006 anordnat av VIBORG Ph.d.-network, Sygeplejeuddannelsen i Viborg Amt och Viborg-Seminariet, Danmark.

Carlhed, C. (2005). Habilitation practices in a sociological perspective. Posterpresentation, den 23 maj, 2005. Institutet för handikappvetenskap, Linköping

Carlhed, C. (2005). Habilitation practices in a sociological perspective. Posterpresentation vid konferensen Morgondagens vård och omsorgsforskning, Advanced Health Sciences of tomorrow. Västerås 9-10 Nov 2005

English summary

The aim in the dissertation is to analyze beliefs and symbolic power in habilitation (the area of services to young children with disabilities) ― a field of symbolic forces, which were created by formation of specific groups, their interests and positions related to children with disabilities and their education and care in Sweden developed during the period 1960―1980.
In chapter II the analytical frame is presented. In this section I have also positioned the dissertation in relation to studies of child- and youth habilitation inSweden, other studies of relevant professions, organizations and social spaces related to boundaries between health care, social care and education. Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory of social space works as the theoretical framework and is presented in this section. Central concepts are social space/field, agents,positions, position-takings, different forms of capital, symbolic economies, doxa and symbolic power. In this chapter the methodological considerations are also presented with information about the material and how the reconstruction of the “habilitation sphere” was conducted through agents and their positions. The occupational groups were paediatric doctors/child psychiatrists, physiotherapists,occupational therapists, social workers (counsellors), psychologists and pre-school teachers. The other positions were related to the county council union(Landstingsförbundet), four disability organizations (DHR, FUB, RBU and HCK), two of which were parent organizations and in addition, the research field of social medicine. These positions were reconstructed through journals of ten professional organizations covering six occupations and four disability organizations. One journal represents the position as researchers of social medicine (Socialmedicinsk tidskrift).
The materials from journals were mainly articles, notes and announcements and book reviews. Other material used in the thesis are: an interview with a government official that were engaged in supervision of “The mental retardation care” (Sinnesslövården) at the time, reports of Government-appointed committees or commissions of inquiry (statens offentliga utredningar)concerning the occupational groups and the specific areas and organizations where children with disabilities were attended to, (e.g. “The cerebral palsy care”and “The mental retardation care”) or areas related to specific issues in socialpolicy (e.g. disabilities). In order to explore the social foundations of the occupations, material from archives about the wages of the occupational groups has been used. Complementary statistics about wages and numbers of the occupations at different times come from official statistics.
Chapter III is a historical overview of the development of the Swedish healthcare system, the discipline of medicine and its increased strong position within the welfare state from medieval times into the 20th century. The historical overview also comprises organizations of “special” children. This chapter has a descriptive character and is based on secondary sources such as dissertations and other research by historians and sociologists. A conclusive discussion and reinterpretation by means of Bourdieu’s conceptual framework ends this chapter, which also outlines a background for the main analysis in chapter VI.
Chapter IV focuses on reports of commissions of inquiry (Statens offentliga utredningar) concerning the occupational groups and the specific areas and organizations where children with disabilities were attended to at the time (e.g.“The cerebral palsy care” and “The mental retardation care”) or areas related to specific issues in social policy such as disability. These commission reports, the definitions that were used and produced, combined with their reception of political groups or occupational groups contribute to the shaping of an economy of symbolic values relevant to the specific “habilitation sphere”. In the context of Bourdieu’s terminology, the commission reports are interpreted as consecration authorities, who sanctify certain agents and their actions based on recognition of their specific symbolic capital. Examples of symbolic goods produced within this classification process were social problems and categories, which the authorities should attend to. Consequently, the commissions of inquiry worked as an important assembling and determinative “qualifier” for citizens seeking welfare services as well as patients suitable for “habilitation services”. This is very important to recognize if one is to understand both the specificity of habilitation practices and the welfare organizations as well. The symbiotic relationships that characterize occupations, organizations and clients within the welfare system depend on the fact that they are all defined within the same system. Ultimately, all agents within the welfare system, including agents within ”the habilitation sphere”, have to orientate themselves and their actions in order position themselves in relation to the State – “The bureaucratic field”.
In chapter V the social foundations of the occupational groups are explored by use of the concepts of cultural and educational capital. Material from three different county archives about the wages of the occupational groups has been used. Complementary statistics about the wages of, as well as the numbers employed in the occupations at different times stems from official statistics. A ranking order of economic capital between the occupational groups was constructed based on the archive material. The stable top ranking position over the twenty year period 1960―1980 was held by the doctors, they had the highest wages of all the groups. The psychologists held the second place, the social workers held the third position, the physiotherapists held the fourth ranking and the pre-school teachers and the occupational therapists took turns in the fifth and sixth ranking position during these years. This ranking order was stable and identical to the ranking of educational capital. A ranking order of social recruitment to the different educations was established, which revealed that students from high status families went preferably to medical and psychology studies. The students in physiotherapist education were predominantly women from high status families at least in the early years of the time period being researched. Students from middle and low status families went to social work studies, pre-school teacher studies and occupational therapist studies. Agents other than the occupational groups could not be compared by their amounts of educational and economic capital, because their positions in ”the habilitation sphere” depended on their parenthood or disability or being clients/patients.
Chapter VI is the presentation of the main analysis in the dissertation. It focuses on the social mobilization of both the occupational groups and the disability organizations, as a key to understanding the symbolic reproduction of the groups (and their leaders). These mobilization processes also contribute to shaping the symbolic economy, which rules the recognition of specific symbolic capital. “The habilitation sphere” was dominated by the medical doxa. All the agents were involved in defining and redefining “the Cause” ― in this particular case how to deal with children with disabilities and who should do it and how to do it in the best way. The processes of definition and redefinition took place in relation towards the dominant medical agents, i.e. the doctors and subsequently also to the bureaucratic field ― the State. The defining and redefining practices are interpreted as classification struggles in order to enhance the symbolic power, which promotes monopolizing of ways to systemize knowledge and to dominate the social space.
The analysis of the classification struggles is structured by the groups’ orthodox and heterodox position-takings. This analysis reveals the underlying doxic visions and the distance that existed from “the holy sphere” in the medical doxa (and in the medical field) and the other agents. It thereby exposes their amount of their specific symbolic capital.
Chapter VII synthesizes the conclusions about the dominating doxa and the otherdoxas, from the previous chapters. The early constitution of a ”habilitation sphere” was related to “the profane sphere” in the medical field and which was aboundary area between the dominant medical doxa, a dominated social bureaucratic doxa and a dominated pedagogical doxa. The cultural dimension (the sphere of position-takings) and the social dimension (the sphere of social positions) were amplified by the symbolic dimension (the rules of vision) within”the habilitation sphere”. This specific structure is illustrated by three figures inchapter VII. For the same reasons as discussed earlier, the disability agents could not be fully compared with the others in these illustrations. However in relation to the dominant doxa, they were the furthest away from the medical positions.
Chapter VIII is the conclusion of the dissertation. One finding was quite surprising and it is probably the most important conclusion. It was the strength and power of the social space and its opportunities to be a “shield” for its agents. If someone left that field to work in another, he or she was “out in the cold”. This “structural gap” means for example that if a pre-school teacher, who was raised within a pedagogic doxa with its specific visions about her responsibility to ensure the best interests of children, should enter the medical field, she would thereby be accorded a low symbolic position in that receiving field. This would be due to her radically different way of acting and talking compared to the occupational groups within the medical field. Her strategies would not be recognized as valuable, because she had the wrong or less symbolic capital. Subsequently, a physiotherapist who entered a pedagogic sphere (the school) would meet a similar structural gap, as well as the psychologist who entered the school as a school psychologist and so forth. Consequently, the receiving field would not recognize their capital as valuable. This could be seen as a “shield function” for external influences. But the shield function worked even more strongly at the internal level when their former colleagues in the field they left, they would not show no compassion for those who had gone. Therefore, the pioneers in “new areas” in other fields were treated by their former colleagues as renegades or as pariahs, who had themselves to blame if they experienced difficulties. But it is interesting to consider whether the same applied to medical doctors entering other fields than that field of medicine? Or is it a matter of the relation between “the holy sphere”and “the profane sphere”? Does leaving the “home-field” always mean losing a particular esteem from the eyes of the dominant positions in one’s own field, because one is viewed as a deserter? This is a challenging and an interesting phenomenon which could be further explored. 
As a metaphoric conclusion, one could say that in the “glow” of Medicine there is a charismatic promise and tribute to successful development. Medicine has to conquer new areas, new riddles ― if something has been explored and explained,the interest fades. This powerful “glow” has been strengthed and fuelled with ideologies and myths for a long time. The messages have been that medicine is the most important human practice and doctors’ privileges and dominant visions are parts of a natural order. The silent medical doxa embraces all this. If it is questioned ― it will defend itself through discourse. At the same time, within the ”shadows” of medicine symbolic power rules, dominating the vision of “the Cause”, of those who belong and who do not, of what is important and what is not.
This dissertation has demonstrated the following: the constitution of a ”the habilitation sphere”; its agents who invested in the new “cause”; and their dependence on the medical doxa. That domination has its roots in the homologies of the symbolic and social order in Swedish welfare society. The dissertation has also presented an alternative view of habilitation practices during a certain period of time and a perhaps more pessimistic view of the resistance which could meet collaboration between different occupational and interest groups ― in the shape of doxas.

Dimension of parent-professional collaboration in habilitation services

This research described below is connected to three research projects

2007 – Mutual demands and expectations in encounters between parents to children with disabilities and professionals within habilitation centers and the school. Pilot study using the theoretical framework elaborated by Pierre Bourdieu. Funded by Sunnerdahls handikappfond.

2003 – Regional habilitation practices. A case study analyzing documents, using interviews and a questionnaire (n=256), In Uppsala county and three habilitation centers.

2000–2003 – The DIIS-project. ”Dimensions of parent collaboration within habilitation area, the research programme CHILD Children-Health-Intervention-Learning-Development. 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 och Mats Granlund, Mälardalen University Funded by Swedish Research Council.

1997–2000 – PROFECT. Participation in the research programme ”Processes and effects of intervention.” Data collection and analysis using quantitative and qualitative designs in several substudies. Statistical analysis (i.e. CFA – Confirmatory factor analysis and multivariate structural equation modeling SEM), Directed by: Eva Björck-Åkesson, Mälardalen University


Peer reviewed articles

Carlhed, C. & Göransson, K. (2012). Sekvensmodellen – en ny metod för att studera institutionella villkor och ömsesidiga förväntningar avseende samverkan mellan professionella och föräldrar. [The sequence model – new ways to research institutional conditions and mutual expectations in parent-professional collaboration]. Fokus på familien. Nordisk tidsskrift for familie- og relasjonsarbeid, nr 4, 2012, pp 294-312.

Carlhed, C. (2003). Defining dimensions in family-oriented services in early childhood intervention. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research. Vol 5, No 2. Pp. 185-202.

Carlhed, C., Björck-Åkesson, E., & Granlund, M. (2003). Parent Perspectives on Early Intervention: The Paradox of Needs and Rights. The British Journal of Developmental Disabilities. Vol.49, Part 2, No.97. Pp 79-89.


Carlhed, C. (2004). Regional habiliteringspraktik – en forskningsskiss. Forskningsseminarium om funktionshinder och handikapp Örebro, Anordnat av arbetsgruppen för forskningskonferenser/seminarier. Nationella nätverket för forskning om funktionshinder och handikapp, finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet och FAS, 22-23 april, 2004

Carlhed, C. (2005). Habilitering för barn, ungdom och vuxna i ett sociologiskt perspektiv. Forskning och utvecklingsarbete pågår. En mötesplats mellan forskare och praktiker. 31 oktober 2005. Konferens arrangerad av kommunerna i Uppsala län, Uppsala universitet och Landstinget i Uppsala Län.  

Carlhed, C. (2005). Habilitation practices in Sweden. Presentation at conference held by the Interuniversity research collaboration University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Carlhed, C. (2002). Diskurser om föräldrasamverkan i habiliteringen. Forskningskonferensen Vardagsliv, Livskvalitet och Habilitering. 8:e Forskningskonferensen i Örebro, 13 –1 4 mars, 2002. Programbok, 159 – 162

Carlhed, C. (2001). Samverkan med familjen kring barns aktivitet och samspel: Dimensioner i föräldrasamverkan. Presentation vid Konferensen ”Samspel, lek och inlärning ur ett specialpedagogiskt perspektiv” vid Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 17-18 maj 2001.

Carlhed, C. (2001). Dimensions of family involvement in the habilitation process. Sven Jerring symposium, European Academy of Childhood Disabilities – EACD, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. Supplement No.89 October 2001, Vol. 43, p 16-17. London: Mac Keith Press.

Carlhed, C. (2000). Assessing validity in measuring dimensions in family-oriented services. Paper presenterat vid Centrum för välfärdsforskning, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 14 juni, 2000.

Carlhed, C. (1999). Familjen och de professionella. Paper presenterat vid konferensen Rendez-vous. Människa – Livsvillkor – Handikapp, 13 – 15 april, 1999, Örebro

Björck-Åkesson, E., Carlhed, C., & Granlund, M. (1998). The impact of early intervention on the family system. Paper presented at the 4th European Symposium of EURYLAID. Equal opportunities and quality of life for families with a young disabled child. Butgenbach, Belgium, October 14th -17th, 1998  

Björck-Åkesson, E. & Carlhed, C.& Granlund, M. (1998). The impact of early intervention on the family system – perspectives on process and outcome. IX Reunión Interdisciplinar sobre Poblaciones de Alto Riesgo de Deficiencias.