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Academically skilled refugees’ experience of discrimination while integrating through the Danish and Swedish labor market


  • Sandra Fröberg

Summary, in English

From empirical material collected through semi-structured interviews, this master’s thesis is conducting a critical discourse analysis, investigating to what extent discoursive structures entails discriminatory treatments of academically skilled refugees in the integration process of entering the Danish and Swedish labor market. Academically skilled refugees and relevant caseworkers from both Denmark and Sweden have been interviewed to investigate individual experiences related to the integration process. A research on both the Danish and Swedish immigration and integration policies and the labor market policies is presented, combined with the importance of the national identities, Danishness and Swedishness. The chosen methodological approach includes the use of Teun A. van Dijk’s critical discourse analysis, which is supplemented by Stuart Hall’s classification of representation and his interpretation of Michel Foucault’s definition of discourses, together with Norman Fairclough’s elaboration of the complexity of discourses. The semi-structured interviews are explained by professor of general psychology and qualitative methods, Svend Brinkmann, and professor of educational psychology Lene Tanggaard. To investigate discriminatory treatments, the analysis includes the Discrimination Theory presented by Rebecca M. Blank, Marilyn Dabady and Constance F. Citro, together with Gary S. Becker’s definition of Human Capital Theory. Throughout the analysis, following points will be presented and discussed: Personal experiences on discriminating situations, the difference in the Danish and Swedish discourses about the subject, flaws in the system leading to a lack of understanding the existential importance of education and experience, and finally the paradox seen through human capital theory. The thesis concludes, among other things, that some extent of discriminatory treatments through discoursive structures, are present when academically skilled refugees enter the Danish and Swedish labor market. However, discrimination is found to not solely be the cause of inequalities in the labor market.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Law and Political Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Cultural Sciences
  • Languages and Literatures


  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Discrimination
  • Human Capital
  • Danishness and Swedishness
  • Labor Market policy
  • Immigration and Integration policies
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Öresund
  • European Studies


  • Niklas Bernsand (Researcher)