This study investigates how teachers working with newly arrived adolescent refugee students reflect on these students, their situation within the educational system and in Norwegian society. We research the ways in which these reflections engage with the various understandings of the ubiquitous and ‘fuzzy’ notion of immigrant integration, a concept which we approach critically. The empirical data consists of interviews with teachers in three Adult Education establishments in Norway. Our aim was to identify the narratives of integration the teachers draw on and (re)produce, and to discuss these in relation to policies and perceptions of integration in Norwegian schools and society. Our analysis identified three narratives of integration, namely (1) Integration as having social relations with ‘Norwegians’, (2) Integration as acquiring knowledge and (3) Integration as endorsing ‘Norwegian’ values. These narratives exist alongside a corresponding image of the newly arrived migrant students as socially unintegrated and as educationally and culturally deficient. The article’s main argument is that the teachers’ narratives, despite their complex and multifaceted character, are embedded in an educational and societal context where the longstanding Norwegian ideal of cultural sameness leads to added pressure on immigrants to assimilate.

DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2023.2184508
ISSN: 1360-3116