Sociology of Migration in Switzerland: There is (of course) more…!

When we provided an account of the sociology of migration in Switzerland for the special issue in the Swiss Journal of Sociology, we were aware that we could not provide an exhaustive account. Space limitations do not allow this. Although we mentioned that “Given the profusion of research, our account will not be exhaustive and will invariably omit many important contributions.”, such a disclaimer never does justice to these who inadvertently are left out.

Heinz Bonfadelli was very kind to point out an excellent summary from the perspective of communication sciences, discussing amongst others the important role of Kurt Imhof at the University of Zurich. The focus of the chapter is on media representations, an important topic in sociology and communication sciences. With a more specific focus, the chapter can trace different thinking much more carefully.

Bonfadelli, Heinz, and Annelies Debrunner. 2019. ‘Migration und Medien – Ausländer und Minderheiten als Fremde’. Pp. 245–62 in Wandel der Öffentlichkeit und der Gesellschaft, edited by M. Eisenegger, L. Udris, and P. Ettinger. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Chimienti, Milena, Claudio Bolzman, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Sociology of Migration in Switzerland: Past, Present and Future’. Swiss Journal of Sociology 47(1):7–26. doi:

Reblog: Pandemic-era travel has been restricted worldwide, but not everyone has been affected equally

This is a reblog, originally published on The Loop on 14 April 2021.

International travel restrictions introduced during the pandemic constrained our freedom to travel. To understand how, we must look at the interaction between immigration status, citizenship, employment, and place of residence, write Lorenzo Piccoli, Jelena Dzankic, Timothy Jacob-Owens and Didier Ruedin

Restricting international mobility during the coronacrisis

To contain Covid-19, every government in the world has introduced restrictions on international movement. From late January 2020, these restrictions initially targeted travellers from China. But they quickly expanded to other East Asian countries, then to Iran, Italy, and soon to the entire world. We can see these policies as part of a global ‘regime of mobility’, wherein states have the power to halt movement across international borders.

But the measures did not affect everyone equally. In our project, Citizenship, Migration and Mobility in a Pandemic, we discuss four ways government restrictions to contain SARS-CoV-2 had unequal effects on different groups and individuals.

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Migration and Discrimination: A Reader

I’m very happy to announce the publication of a reader on migration and discrimination by Rosita Fibbi, Arnfinn Midtbøen, and Patrick Simon. The reader comes in at some 100 pages and is completely free and open access at the IMISCOE/Springer website.

Some readers may want to skip the chapter making a case for research on migration and discrimination, but for others will find a well justified and researched overview why this topic is important!

We get an overview of key concepts, key theories, and a discussion of different measurements. All these in a more comprehensive way than what research articles can offer, yet in an accessible way.

In my view, the chapter summarizing discrimination across social domains comes in a bit short. Thinking ahead how this reader can be used in a course, though, I guess this is fine, since most course providers probably want to put a focus on the empirical evidence anyway and will pick more detailed studies of these weeks.

The reader is then completed with sections on the consequences of discrimination — again a part that could have been longer, but again a part where course providers will have their own preferred material to complement the book. The chapter on combatting discrimination is a summary of classic strategies, but does not discuss some more recent ideas how discrimination can be reduced or overcome.

Overall an excellent and nicely put together resource that many will want to use in their courses or just read themselves! Download your copy now…

The Sociology of Migration in Switzerland: Past, Present and Future

The editorial to our special issue is now available on Sciendo! The introduction to the special issue reflects on the knowledge production in the sociology of migration. We emphasise the continuous and changing challenges of knowledge production in the sociology of migration, taking a historical perspective to outline how contemporary contributions are a development of previous work. We observe an unprecedented willingness by researchers to challenge earlier perceptions of “immigrants” as a homogenous population, – something largely banished to populist political discourse these days. We identify contributions to the reflexive turn, but also and increasing focus on specific social phenomena and the dedication to finding solutions to societal challenges such as inequality or social cohesion.

Chimienti, Milena, Claudio Bolzman, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Sociology of Migration in Switzerland: Past, Present and Future’. Swiss Journal of Sociology. 47(1):1-20. doi:10.2478/sjs-2021-0004 [Open Access]