Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/5036
Becoming Bicultural- A Study of Migrated Adolescents in the School Context
School is the institution designed to mediate academic knowledge as well as to socialize its students. The purpose of this study is to explore the efforts and conflicts of migrated adolescents while adjusting to Icelandic society within the school context. This qualitative study took place in a compulsory school in the capital area of Reykjavik where I observed 14 migrated adolescents during the school year 2008 to 2009. Theoretical foundations are the theory of practice from Pierre Bourdieu (1977) and John Berry’s (2005) acculturation theory. While John Berry’s theory helps to outline the students’ position in the conflict between their own migration background and the Icelandic society, Bourdieu’s concepts habitus and cultural capital help to uncover structures underlying these conflicts and outline the importance of school and language for existing power relations within a society. Main results in this study are the important role of the group of migrated students where the students find their first friends and start to overcome the initial shock in the new environment. The students’ access to their mother tongue and their ability to use other means of communication such as sign language have a positive influence on the process of adjustment. The relations between the migrated students and their Icelandic peers and teachers are characterized by certain insecurities and communication deficiencies that prevent more active interactions with the migrated adolescents. The identity of the migrated students is in general too little reflected in the daily life at school.