Forschungsschwerpunkt: Migrations- und Mobilitätsforschung

Diversity and Coexistence in a Peaceful Balkan Border Region. The Shkodra/Skadar Region in the Forefront of EU-Accession

Jelena Tosic

Her current project deals with legacies of mobility, urbanity and socio-cultural diversity in the Albanian-Montenegrin borderland.

The flash performance of Swissness

Renata Cosby

In the setting of an integrated Switzerland, how indigenous Swiss fleetingly yet memorably perform their Swiss identity to those perceived by them to be, or to those who feel themselves to be, outside the dominant Swiss culture.

Doing Credibility; The Construction of Credibility in Swiss Asylum Procedures

Prof. Julia Eckert, Laura Affolter, Johanna Fuchs, Raphaël Rey

Wird in der Schweiz ein Asylentscheid gefällt, entscheiden Beamte und RichterInnen nicht nur darüber, ob ein Asylsuchender der Flüchtlingsdefinition entspricht, sondern sie prüfen auch die Glaubhaftigkeit der Aussage des Asylsuchenden. Das vorliegende Forschungsprojekt untersucht den Prozess, in dem über die Glaubhaftigkeit von Asylvorbringen entschieden wird. Im Zentrum stehen die vier Hauptakteure im Asylverfahren: Asylsuchende, RechtsberaterInnen, Beamte, die im Staatssekretariat für Migration arbeiten, sowie RichterInnen und Gerichtsschreibende des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts. Das Projekt analysiert die Bedeutungen, welche  Glaubhaftigkeit und Unglaubhaftigkeit im Asylverfahren zugeschrieben werden und wie Glaubhaftigkeit im Entscheidungsprozess verhandelt wird.

Link zum Projekt

CommuniCare – Kommunikationsdesign in kultursensiblen Alters- und Pflegeeinrichtungen

Prof. Heinzpeter Znoj, Arne Scheuermann, Afzali Minou, HKB

In der Schweiz ergeben sich zunehmend neue Herausforderungen, wenn auch MigrantInnen in Altersheime eintreten. Wie bei anderen alten Menschen findet bei ihnen oftmals eine Rückbesinnung auf die Herkunft statt. Kulturspezifische Altersinstitutionen wollen vor diesem Hintergrund ein Umfeld ermöglichen, das die persönlichen und kulturellen Bedürfnisse der MigrantInnen berücksichtigt.


Prof. Julia Eckert, Simon Affolter M.A., David Loher M.A., Lic. rer. soc. Simone Affolter

In contemporary European border regimes, border control practices are no longer restricted to the proper geo-politcal border, but relocated and deterritorialised. Nonetheless, undocumented migration towards Europe persists. Unsurprisingly, migrants as mobile subjects exercise their transnational mobility and continue to cross borders. Although not part of the EU, Switzerland is integrated in manifold ways in and part of these European border regimes. Taking the relocation and deterritorialisation of borders as a starting point, the project studies three exemplary modes of doing borders in relocated and deterritorialised border regimes. 

The first subproject studies the externalisation of border regimes in the transnational space of mobility between Tunisia and Switzerland. In particular, it focuses on the negotiation of so-called voluntary return migration. 

The second subproject analyses internalised border control practices. It studies camps for asylum seekers in Switzerland and reads them as border zones within the state. It asks how power relations are inscribed in everyday interactions between officials and rejected asylum seekers.

The research of the third subproject focuses on the persisting permeability of the border in the European border regime. It analyses the governance of seasonal labour migration of undocumented migrants from Eastern and South-eastern Europe in the agricultural sector of Switzerland. 

The multi-perspective approach allows to grasp the complexity of the European border regime. It provides in theory and empirical data new insights into the interdependencies between undocumented migrants’ transnational social spaces and border control practices.

Link to the Project

Transnational Biographies of Education: Young Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers and their Navigation through Shifting Social Realities in Switzerland and Turkey

Prof. Dr. Sabine Strasser, Dr. Kathrin Oester Znoj, Dr. Annika Lems, Elif Tibet M.A.

This project will look at the educational pathways of young unaccompanied asylum seekers aged between 14 and 21, a group whose access to education is frequently described as at-risk. Starting from the premise that with the increasing force of globalisation the international mobility and precarity of young people is also bound to grow, we will explore the strategies unaccompanied refugee youth in two different national settings deploy to enhance their educational possibilities. By focusing on Switzerland (sub-project A) and Turkey (sub-project B), two countries with high numbers of unaccompanied minors but very different institutional frameworks and responses, we aim to gain insight into how young people navigate their ways through landscapes of extreme uncertainty and change. Based on two in-depth ethnographic studies, one in Switzerland, the other in Turkey, the goal of this project is to come to a better understanding of how different legal, political and educational frameworks restrict or enhance young people’s educational opportunities.

In comparing the lived experiences of young migrants in the two countries, we intend to establish how different degrees of control and uncertainty, of agency and ambition impact on young people’s educational biographies.

Using methods such as visual and narrative storytelling and extensive periods of participant observation in formal and informal educational spaces (like schools, state care facilities, youth centres, NGOs, charitable organisations or diasporic networks) we will shed light on the ambiguous interplay between agency and restraint that marks young unaccompanied asylum seekers’ transnational biographies of education. As such this project will offer an important contribution to the emerging body of research on transnationalism, youth and education from a perspective that regards children as active agents in migratory processes.

Link to the Project

Trapped in Paradise: Entangled mobilities and imaginaries of Freedom

Prof. Sabine Strasser, Paul Reade PhD, Danaé Leitenberg M.A.

This SNF project aims to understand the relation between the fields of migration and tourism and how these articulate around notions of im/mobility and freedom. It does so by looking at two sites on opposite sides of the security spectrum: Switzerland and Mexico. This research focuses on tourists who seek for adventure, migrants who joined the tourism industry and locals who witness the arrival of such groups and engage with them. More