Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Adult Migrants’ Endeavours for a Life as Included

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Abstract:  In many European countries, Sweden included, social inclusion of adult migrants has come to mean second language learning and labour market establishment. This understanding of social inclusion has been problematised by previous research as it reinforces a deficit discourse where migrants are depicted as lacking skills or incentives, and social inclusion is seen merely as a matter of adjusting to society. This study aims to examine migrants’ positioning in relation to language learning and social inclusion. It is based on a longitudinal interview study with adult migrants, first when being enrolled in second language education, and later in the continuing process of making a life in a new country. We analyse five migrant narratives, drawing on the concepts of positioning, agency, rights, duties, and capital in relation to their past, present, and future aspirations. The results show that the position of the “good migrant” taking responsibility for language learning and job seeking is prominent. At the same time, positioning is also constructed in relation to individual aspirations and opportunities, depending on one’s circumstance of life and capital, such as previous education or social networks. Thus, inclusion is closely related to being recognised, not primarily as a migrant, but as the person one strives to be, both professionally and personally.

Keywords:  adult education; labour market; learning; migrants; narratives; positioning; recognition; social inclusion



© Sofia Nordmark, Helena Colliander. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.