Migration, learning and social inclusion

Flykting med huvudet i händerna framför tomt hus

The high number of refugees coming to Sweden are challenging in terms of inclusion. Adult and popular education have historically been a tool for migrants' language learning. With current migration patterns, adult and popular education have once more been proposed as a means of including migrants. Such practices, how they are organized, and with what effects, have been sparsely researched in a Swedish context.

Thus, the overall aim of this program is to analyse and develop knowledge about in what ways, and with what success, different initial language learning practices serves as tools for the inclusion of migrants into the labour market and society more widely. The program poses the following specific research questions:

• What are the long-term effects of migrants’ participation in Swedish language learning within adult education? What differences in terms of effects can be identified based on individual as well as contextual characteristics?

• How can long-term effects of migrants’ participation in Swedish language learning within adult education be understood in terms of migrants’ own meaning-making of such participation?

• What different kinds of trajectories of inclusion can be identified among migrants participating in language learning within adult education?

• How do different adult education practices for migrants’ language learning facilitate, in various extent, their inclusion in the labour market and Swedish society more widely?

The analytical framework departs from the concept trajectory of inclusion which makes it possible to trace and identify migrants’ movements across time and place (education, work, unemployment etc.), and the conditions making their inclusion more or less possible. The program is divided into four projects, focusing on three settings for initial language learning: Swedish for immigrants, language learning at refugee accommodations, and language introduction courses at folk high schools. Combining register data analysis, with a qualitative research design (observations and interviews on site in the three settings), as well as through follow up interviews with students after two and four years about the meaning they attach to their trajectory in Sweden, the program provides new knowledge on migrants’ inclusion in the Swedish labour market and society more generally.

Funding: Linköping University, municipality of Norrköping, ABF, the county council of Östergötland.