"Yes, The Power Is In The Town"

An Ethnographic Study Of Student Participation In A Rural Swedish Secondary School


  • Monica Johansson University of Gothenburg




participation, education, spatiality, youth, rurality, Sweden


This article is based on an ethnographic case study and highlights the importance of spatial dimensions and spatial inequality as means of understanding the participation of a group of youths living in a sparsely populated rural area of Sweden. The analysis took as its starting point Doreen Massey's conceptualisation of place and space as comprising extended social relations that are in a state of constant change connected to power relations. The data analysis focused on the activities that the youths took part in and how they expressed their participation and agency in society at local, regional and national levels. The results point to variability in youth participation at different levels and indicate that visible and meaningful social relations are important for youth participation and their understandings of participation. The trends suggest that student agency and statements in relation to possible and actual participation are strongest at both school and local levels, and decrease and change to more resistance and silence at regional and national levels.

Author Biography

Monica Johansson, University of Gothenburg

Monica Johansson is Senior Lecturer of Education in the Department of Education and Special Education and Prodean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research focuses on inclusive and exclusive processes at different levels of education and includes questions of identity, spatiality and justice.



18-08-2017 — Updated on 07-01-2017


How to Cite

Johansson, M. (2017). "Yes, The Power Is In The Town": An Ethnographic Study Of Student Participation In A Rural Swedish Secondary School. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 27(2), 61–76. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v27i2.118 (Original work published August 18, 2017)

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