Between streetwise and school-smart. Danish ethnic minority boys negotiating academic expertise

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This paper explores negotiations of academic discourse and identities among a group of 8-16 year old boys of mixed ethnic minority descent living in a housing cooperative in western Copenhagen, Denmark. Growing up in socially marginalised families, the boys are presented with ambiguous concepts of schooling in the media, in classrooms, and at home. While their parents generally praise schooling as “the key to success”, most parents have little school experience themselves. Negative stereotypes of ethnic minority boys as “troublemakers” prevail both in Danish media and the national school system, affecting the boys’ interpretations and appropriations of academic discourse and identities in their out-of-school lives. Drawing on on peer language socialisation studies of ethnic minority youth, and based on on qualitative observations, interviews and sound-recorded pair and group interactions among a group of 8-16 year old boys, I depict the boys’ various attempts to balance and synthesise linguistic codes and identities of ‘the school’ and ‘the street’. The article thus provides sociolinguistic insights on peer socialisation, school encounters and identity work among young ethnic minority students.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLinguistics and Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
EventAAA, San José: American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San José - San José, San José, United States
Duration: 14 Nov 201818 Nov 2018


ConferenceAAA, San José
LocationSan José
CountryUnited States
CitySan José
Internet address

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