Using Habermas’ theory of the public sphere, this article examines the potential of conversation-based programming (e.g. conversation groups and language cafes) in public libraries to bring immigrant voices into the public sphere and thereby, to facilitate their political integration. To both support and illustrate the theoretical explorations of the article, research findings are presented from a study on language cafes and integration at Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway. Four ways in which the language cafes can support immigrants’ political integration and the formation of a comprehensive public sphere include the fostering of linguistic competence, expansion of social networks, promotion of information exchange relevant to political integration, and facilitation of ‘messy conversation’.
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