Schoolscaping in the third space

The case of the Language Introduction Programme in Sweden


  • Åsa Wedin Dalarna University


Language Introduction Programme, schoolscape, linguistic landscaping, recently arrived students, multilingualism


The aim of this paper is to trace students’ multilingualism and agency in the schoolscape of the Language Introduction Programme (LIP) in one Swedish upper secondary school. Through linguistic schoolscaping, the study contributes to a deeper understanding of LIP. The schoolscape is analysed as reconstructions of photographs of displayed images, objects, symbols, and written language on walls and elsewhere in the school area. The photographs are analysed in terms of how they orient to time, place, and space; control behaviour; and shape discourses. Through the analysis, discourses of an organized, inclusive, and tolerant society appear, that simultaneously shape a discourse of behaviour: in this school (and in Sweden) we (want to) follow (the) rules. Students’ multilingualism is nearly absent in the schoolscape, as is their agency. In line with Bhabha’s concept third space, the schoolscape may be understood as a space for Swedishness, where inclusion demands mastery of Swedish. The in-betweenness of the LIP, as a transitional programme, appears as a space to escape otherness by changing language, which is the requirement for inclusion. Thus, in this case, the signage displayed in the schoolscape does not open up spaces for identity development related to multilingualism or multiculturalism. Opening space for students as agents in the schoolscape and making their diverse linguistic resources visible would also open up a third space for negotiation of norms, through contestation, resistance, and manifestation. Thus students’ development of multiple identities would be enabled and their opportunities to be (co-)creators of their own futures widened.



2021-12-20 — Updated on 2021-12-22


How to Cite

Wedin, Åsa. (2021). Schoolscaping in the third space: The case of the Language Introduction Programme in Sweden. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, 15(2), 151–168. (Original work published December 20, 2021)