Citizenship as status, habitus and acts: Language requirements and civic orientation in Sweden

Tommaso Milani, Simon Bauer, Marie Carlson, Andrea Spehar, Kerstin von Brömssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article employs the notions of citizenship as status, habitus and acts as a framework through which to capture how sovereign power, disciplinary power and biopower intersect in the context of Sweden’s current management of migration. Through an analysis of policy and media debates, the article first illustrates how citizenship as status and sovereign power in Sweden have undergone a shift from actively endorsing multilingualism and cultural dialogue to requiring migrants to demonstrate knowledge of a particular language, Swedish, and what is constructed as a singular national culture and its values. The article then homes in on a particular Arabic-language course in civic orientation for newly arrived adult migrants in a large urban area. We illustrate how disciplinary power and biopower work by socializing a group of migrants into a specific habitus of Swedish values and norms. We also unveil the acts of resistance they perform in response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)756-772
Number of pages17
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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