Sweden has long been described as a beacon of multiculturalism and generous access to citizenship, with voluntary integration policies that are organised through free and equal access to the welfare state. In this paper, we take the policy of Civic Orientation for Newly Arrived Migrants as a case with which to better understand how migrants’ inclusion is discursively articulated and constructed by those involved in organising and interpreting the policy and those teaching it. To do so, we employ Foucault’s closely interrelated concepts of the technology of self, the political technology of individuals, and governmentality. With the help of critical discourse analysis, we illustrate how migrants’ inclusion is framed around an ideal “Good Citizen”, which in turn is discursively constructed in relation to the “target population” (Schneider & Ingram, 1993). In our analysis, we draw on individual interviews with 14 people involved in organising Civic Orientation and on classroom observations of seven Civic Orientation courses. Firstly, we show how migrants are constructed as unknowing and in need of being fostered by the state. Secondly, we illustrate how social inclusion is presented as dependent upon labour market participation in terms of both finding work and behaving correctly in the workplace. Lastly, we show how migrant women are constructed as problematically chained to the home and therefore needing to subject themselves to a specific political technology of self in order to be included.
Simon Bauer is a doctoral student in Swedish as a Second Language in the Department of Swedish, Multilingualism, Language Technology at the University of Gothenburg. The doctoral project is in part funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and part of the project ‘Citizenship and democracy education for adult newly arrived migrants?’ (Dnr. 2018-04091) led by Tommaso Milani (University of Gothenburg; Pennsylvania State University), along with Andrea Spehar (University of Gothenburg) and Kerstin von Brömssen (University West). His research interests include migration, citizenship, nationalism, racism, critical theory, critical discourse analysis, and ethnography. He has a background in Sociology as well as Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and is currently writing his doctoral thesis on Civic Orientation in Sweden. His work has appeared in Citizenship Studies and the Nordic Journal of Migration Research.