This is an empirical study that aims to contribute to knowledge about the opportunities the career counselling conversation offers young migrants in shaping their future. Conversations play a central role in career counselling activities in Swedish schools; furthermore, the question of how the Swedish society promotes the inclusion of its immigrants has become an increasingly urgent issue. The study draws on a dialogical framework on interaction and meaning making and seeks to gain insight into how meaning about the future is formed in career counselling conversations. The following questions were formulated: How is the interaction between migrant students and their counsellors formed in counselling conversations? How can the interaction be understood in relation to the participants and their contexts? What seems to enable or constrain students’ meaning making about the future in these conversations? The study was conducted in an introductory course for newly arrived immigrants at the upper secondary level. Researcher followed a series of two career counselling conversations between five students and five counsellors, respectively. The empirical material comprises three parts: audio-recordings of conversations, observations of these conversations and audio-recorded interviews with counsellors and students. The students, three men and two women, have a non-European background and had been in Sweden between one and three years. All except one can be considered a refugee. The material was transcribed, and the conversations were analysed with the concepts of communicative projects and strategies. The conversations are the primary empirical material. The results show that the counsellors’ and the students’ communicative projects primarily are complementary. Both the counsellor and the conversations appear as crucial for students learning about Swedish opportunity structures and meaning making about the future. The analysis also elucidated interactional patterns and interplay that seem to constrain the students’ possibilities to shape a future with their own conditions within the conversations. The conversations focused on Swedish career opportunities and lacked a transnational perspective. Furthermore, the students’ migrant background was not made relevant in the conversations; hence, the conversations risk contributing to students’ stigmatisation. The counsellors’ methods also seem at risk of individualising issues related to institutional preconditions and structural constraints. However, the analysis also displayed how the counsellor can counteract these constraining effects. The result implicates, in alignment with other studies, that the responsibility for the students’ career processes cannot be put on counselling conversations alone; more comprehensive and integrated activities for career learning in the schools are necessary to provide immigrant students with reasonable possibilities for shaping a future. Moreover, the conclusion is drawn that counsellor’s conversation skills are important for the students meaning making about the future but that counsellors also must have, among other things, the ability to comprehend migrants’ feelings and existential issues regarding the future and, not least, knowledge about the conditions of migrants and the ability to both comprehend and actively recognize injustices and different expressions of power. There are seldom others advocating for the rights of migrants.

ISBN: 9789176492765