Purpose and goals
The overall purpose of the project is to investigate how “civic orientation for newly arrived migrants” is interpreted, implemented and discursively negotiated in three parallel field studies in three metropolitan municipalities. Civic orientation for adult newly arrived migrants is an educational initiative that each municipality is required to arrange and provide in their introduction programmes. After the official government report entitled Sverige för nyanlända – Värden, välfärdsstat, vardagsliv (SOU 2010:16) [Sweden for newly arrived migrants – Values, welfare state, everyday life] was published, civic orientation courses became more homogenized and standardized nationally (SFS 2010:1138). More specifically, our project intends to answer the following questions:
- What dominant understandings of civic orientation are being expressed through policy and organisation?
- What dominant perspectives, social and cultural values, and norms are apparent in institutional educational practice, and how are these values and norms understood and negotiated between course participants and various actors?
- How are newly arrived migrants positioned in the course – through everyday storytelling in the social interactions within the course and in policy documents and text-based teaching materials?
- What experiences and reflections do previous participants highlight in their stories about having participated in the course?
Through our multidisciplinary project team (education, sociology, linguistics, political science), we aim to jointly answer these questions by studying “civic orientation for newly arrived immigrants” at three societal levels: a policy and organisation level, an institutional educational practice level, and at the participants’ individual and personal level with their stories about their experiences of the course. Through this three-pronged approach, we aim to study whether this course can be regarded as a form of citizenship and democracy fostering; a question which is particularly relevant to investigate in view of the growing debate in recent years on whether newly arrived immigrants should learn more about the values and norms that apply in Sweden. Theoretically, the project is based on a narrative and discursive approach combined with a branch of organisation theory, neo-institutionalism, where the implementation of policy is regarded as a kind of “translation” and social actors are perceived as being actively involved in the creation of a form of socio-political practice. With the aid of empirical data, the project will also contribute to theory building concerning the relationships between linguistic negotiation processes in education and policy related to integration and socio-cultural values and norms.