In the borderlands of care and punishment, there are institutions for compulsory care. Teenagers with problems such as substance abuse, criminality and psychosocial difficulties are the target group of these institutions. Treatment under compulsion is not officially conceptualized as punishment but as protection for teenagers at risk. The care, or treatment, provided in institutions of compulsory care is organized and motivated out of various understandings of the teenagers receiving the care. In other words: the solutions are sprung out of certain problem formulations from staff and other professionals in the social sector.
In this paper I investigate and analyze constructions of teenagers in the setting of so called secure units in Sweden. Observations and interviews, of practices and narratives with institutional staff, are analyzed to understand how "delinquency" is understood in this context. Using a foucauldian concept of power and a discourse theoretical logics approach, I understand these constructions as consisting of logics and fantasies in the intersection of gender, age, class, ethnicity, race, social background and biology. These various logics and fantasies are articulated together in different ways to motivate further action.
Articulation is understood both as a methodological tool to organize the researchers view on empirical material, and as a research strategy to bring seemingly separate concepts and ideas together.
This paper shall demonstrate the importance of studying the particularities of compulsory care to understand processes of normality and deviation more broadly.
33 Nordic Ethnology and Folklore Conference, Copenhagen, August 18-21, 2015.