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Title [sv]
Arbetskraft från Östersjöområdet: Språk och yrkesvardag hos arbetskraftsinvandrade polacker och estländare i Sverige.
Title [en]
Labour from the Baltic Sea region: Language, migration and daily working life among Polish and Estonian citizens in Sweden.
Abstract [en]
In the Swedish political debate, the key to the labour market is commonly considered to be proficiency in Swedish. At the same time there is an extensive periodical labour migration to Sweden (in particular from Poland), which would indicate that migrants do get work – even though they do not always fully master the language. How these EU nationals from the Baltic Sea Region linguistically manage their professional life in Sweden is not yet studied. For instance, how do they cooperate and interact at work when linguistic repertoires do not overlap? For what functions do they need Swedish? Can competence in Polish, in fact, be considered as capital in the Swedish labour market (cf. Bourdieu 1977)? The project investigates multilingual professional discourse in Sweden among Polish and Estonian citizens, who periodically live and work in Sweden as carpenters, electricians or tile setters. Ethnographic observations and micro analyses of workplace talk are used for understanding and describing how key participants in at least two teams of craftsmen linguistically organise their daily working life in Sweden. Particular attention is paid to the use of different languages, hybrids of languages and bits of linguistic varieties (i.e. “truncated” linguistic repertoires) in relation to situations, tasks and participants. Also, body language and the use of artefacts are included in the analyses. The project aims to contribute empirically to the knowledge of transnational labour in the Baltic Sea Region as a part of the EU Single Market, and theoretically to sociological and linguistic understandings of the relations between language use, globalisation and migration (Bauman 1998, Coupland 2003, Blommaert 2010). Expanding on earlier studies in linguistics, the project analyses multilingual professional discourse in an unexplored sector of working life where physical and practical team work is essential, and where shared meaning must be achieved through multilingualism and/or bits of linguistic repertoires. The results can also contribute to a more general understanding of the relationship between language skills and access to the Swedish labour market for migrants. With this in mind, the project team will collaborate with representatives from SFI’s working life preparatory courses, in order to discuss policy recommendations (when do migrants need language courses in relation to work?), as well as practical recommendations (how should preparatory courses be designed?).
Publications (4 of 4) Show all publications
Söderlundh, H. & Keevallik, L. (2023). Labour mobility across the Baltic Sea: Language brokering at a blue-collar workplace in Sweden.. Language in society (London. Print), 52(5), 783-804
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Labour mobility across the Baltic Sea: Language brokering at a blue-collar workplace in Sweden.
2023 (English)In: Language in society (London. Print), ISSN 0047-4045, E-ISSN 1469-8013, Vol. 52, no 5, p. 783-804Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this case study we investigate the role of transnational networks and language brokering in labour migration within the European Union. By describing the working days of Estonians hired by a city maintenance company in Sweden, we demonstrate how language skills and network ties of a manager enable work migration in the local context. Most of the recruited workers belong to the manager's circle of family and friends. The manager is thus both capitalising on his social relationships and reinforcing a social support network in the receiving country for the individuals involved. The article promotes our understanding of the interface between migration, multilingualism, and language brokering in the understudied blue-collar workplaces and dissects the social and economic values of linguistic resources in work migration across the Baltic Sea. The data consist of ethnographic observations of daily work routines, video recordings of interaction, and interviews.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2023
Keywords
Labour migration, multilingualism, manual work, language broker
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49714 (URN)10.1017/s0047404522000392 (DOI)000840361000001 ()2-s2.0-85179779323 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 66/2017
Available from: 2022-08-22 Created: 2022-08-22 Last updated: 2024-01-03Bibliographically approved
Söderlundh, H. & Kahlin, L. (2022). Betydelsen av svenska, engelska och andra språk för hantverkare som reser till Sverige för att arbeta: En nexusanalys av språk och arbete på den flerspråkiga byggarbetsplatsen. Språk och stil, 32, 38-71
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Betydelsen av svenska, engelska och andra språk för hantverkare som reser till Sverige för att arbeta: En nexusanalys av språk och arbete på den flerspråkiga byggarbetsplatsen
2022 (Swedish)In: Språk och stil, ISSN 1101-1165, E-ISSN 2002-4010, Vol. 32, p. 38-71Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we investigate the linguistic working life of manual workers who commute from Estonia for installation work at a large construction site in Sweden. Language use is analysed from the perspective of nexus analysis (Scollon & Scollon 2004), including the installers’ historical body, interaction order and discourses in place. The findings show that the workers have extensive experience of construction work in several countries and that they carry out their work without knowledge of Swedish. They are part of a professional Estonian team but work mainly alone and get all necessary instructions from their team leader in Estonian. The team leader coordinates their work but also functions as a language broker in the interactional order, using English as a lingua franca. Installation work is considered “language marginal”, and the dominating discourse in place assigns a higher value to the workers’ craftmanship, flexibility and efficiency than their competence in a specific language. The fact that work is carried out in a country where Swedish is the main language does not have any practical significance, neither for access to work nor for carrying out the work. Based on these findings, we conclude that the wide-spread metaphor “Swedish language as key to the labour market” relies upon a simplified understanding of language and labour market. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Adolf Noreen-sällskapet for Svensk Språk- och Stilforskning, 2022
Keywords
blue-collar work, labour migration, language broker, multilingualism, nexus analysis
National Category
Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Other research area
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51428 (URN)10.33063/diva-492983 (DOI)2-s2.0-85153588599 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 66/2017
Available from: 2023-05-08 Created: 2023-05-08 Last updated: 2023-07-10Bibliographically approved
Kahlin, L., Keevallik, L., Söderlundh, H. & Weidner, M. (2022). Translanguaging as a resource for meaning-making at multilingual construction sites. Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication, 41(3), 261-280
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Translanguaging as a resource for meaning-making at multilingual construction sites
2022 (English)In: Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication, ISSN 0167-8507, E-ISSN 1613-3684, Vol. 41, no 3, p. 261-280Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we investigate spoken professional interaction at construction sites in Sweden, where workers from Poland, Ukraine and Estonia are temporarily employed as carpenters, ground workers and kitchen installers. We study how the workers use resources associated with different languages and how these resources are mobilized along with embodied resources for meaning-making. The analysis aims at investigating what social space the workers construct by going between or beyond different linguistic structures, as defined in the theory of translanguaging. The study is based on Linguistic Ethnography and Conversation Analysis is used for close analysis. We focus on instances of translanguaging, such as Swedish-sounding institutionalized keywords, practices of receptive multilingualism and the search for communicative overlaps in repertoires. The findings from busy construction sites show that the stratifying aspect gives some workers a voice in the organization, while others remain silent. Hence, it is primarily professionals functioning as team leaders, who talk to different occupational categories and use resources associated with different languages. The data provide an opportunity to investigate the theory of translanguaging and its transformative power in relation to professional settings that are linguistically diverse, but also strictly hierarchical.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mouton de Gruyter, 2022
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-47954 (URN)10.1515/multi-2021-0125 (DOI)000731833700001 ()2-s2.0-85121455421 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 66/2017
Available from: 2022-01-03 Created: 2022-01-03 Last updated: 2023-07-10Bibliographically approved
Söderlundh, H., Kahlin, L. & Weidner, M. (2020). Arbetsmigration och flerspråkig interaktion på byggarbetsplatser. Nordand: nordisk tidsskrift for andrespråksforskning, 4(2), 93-110
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Arbetsmigration och flerspråkig interaktion på byggarbetsplatser
2020 (Swedish)In: Nordand: nordisk tidsskrift for andrespråksforskning, ISSN 0809-9227, E-ISSN 2535-3381, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 93-110Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Labour mobility within the EU is particularly extensive in the construction sector, with sociolinguistic consequences for those working abroad and for the place of reception. In this article we analyze chains of directives at construction sites in Sweden, where Ukrainian, Polish and Swedish craftsmen work. The data consist of ethnographic observations and video-recorded conversations from two multilingual workplaces of different sizes. Conversation analysis is used for the analysis of particular instances of chains, and our observations allow for the discussion of the main characteristics of an institutional order for language choice based on interactional patterns that recur across time and space. The results demonstrate how chains contribute to an organization in which not everyone needs to talk to everyone else and where multilingual team leaders function as language brokers between project managers and workers. Interestingly, the institutional order of language choice is similar at the two workplaces, notwithstanding differences in size, temporality and spatiality.

Abstract [sv]

Arbetskraftspendlingen inom EU är särskilt stor inom byggsektorn med språkliga effekter både för den som söker arbete utomlands och för platsen för mottagandet. I den här artikeln analyseras kedjor av arbetsdirektiv på två byggarbetsplatser i Sverige där det arbetar svenska, polska respektive ukrainska hantverkare. Vi visar hur kedjorna bidrar till en organisation där alla inte behöver tala med alla och beskriver hur lagbasar för utländska team av arbetare får en nyckelroll genom dels sin flerspråkighet, dels kedjeformatet. Materialet består av etnografiska observationer och videoinspelade samtal från två flerspråkiga arbetsplatser av olika storlek, vilket möjliggör jämförelser av hur arbetet organiseras. I artikeln analyseras först enskilda kedjor med hjälp av samtalsanalys, sedan den övergripande institutionella ordning för språkval som framträder när mönstret återkommer över tid och rum. Intressant nog är den institutionella ordningen för språkval lika för byggarbetsplatserna, trots olikheter i storlek, temporalitet och spatialitet. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Universitetsforlaget, 2020
Keywords
multilingualism, workplace interaction, migration, sociolinguistics of globalization, flerspråkighet, interaktion, yrkesspråk, migration, globaliseringens sociolingvistik
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-43098 (URN)10.18261/issn.2535-3381-2020-02-04 (DOI)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 66/2017
Available from: 2021-01-11 Created: 2021-01-11 Last updated: 2022-11-09Bibliographically approved
Co-InvestigatorKahlin, Linda
Principal InvestigatorSöderlundh, Hedda
Co-InvestigatorKeevallik, Leelo
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
Funder
Period
2018-01-01 - 2020-12-31
Keywords [sv]
Östersjö- och Östeuropaforskning
Keywords [en]
Baltic and East European studies
National Category
Specific Languages
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:1749Project, id: 66/2017_OSS

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