The role of adult education in the shaping and fostering of democratic citizens is prevalent in current transnational and national policy discussions; a significance which has been further infused by the past few years’ historically high migration flows. This article focuses specifically on the role of adult education in shaping asylum seekers into “full” citizens in Sweden. Drawing on a poststructural discursive theorisation, the author analyses policy reports as well as interviews with project managers and leaders of study circles (a particular form of collaborative adult learning in Sweden) involved in a state-funded initiative called Svenska från dag ett [Swedish from Day One]. This programme emerged in the wake of the arrival of high numbers of asylum seekers in Sweden in the autumn of 2015 and onwards, providing them with an introduction to the Swedish language and to Swedish society. The author’s analysis illustrates how a discourse on asylum seekers as “not yet citizens” emerges, where “they” still lack certain knowledge and capabilities deemed necessary to potentially become “full” citizens in Sweden. Such knowledge, besides language, concerns (Swedish) cultural and institutional (e.g. healthcare and taxation) knowledge. The article concludes by raising some questions regarding the way in which the need for country-specific language as a basis for inclusion is taken for granted.

DOI: 10.1007/s11159-019-09769-2
ISSN: 0020-8566