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:

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]

Burqa Ban in Switzerland? Gender Nativism

Janine Dahinden and Stefan Manser-Egli provide an analysis of the arguments put forward in favour of a burqa ban in Switzerland. Their conclusion: a clear case of gender nativism!

the idea that the ‘native’ Swiss are genuinely gender-equal and that only Swiss women can voluntarily wear the veil

Dahinden & Manser-Egli, 2021

The whole discussion actually bemuses me a bit: here’s a proposition to legislate a problem (according to the initiators) that mostly takes place outside of the country (also according to the initiators); and then there are the Pleureuses — a Swiss tradition in Romont FR — but these are natives… (see quote above) and explicitly exempt in the project going to the polls in March.

Les Pleureuses, nicked from, a website promoting this Swiss tradition.

Yes, migration intentions predict migration flows

A new paper by Philippe Wanner demonstrates that migration intentions are closely related to actual migration flows. Using individual-level data from Switzerland, he studied recently arrived immigrants in Switzerland, comparing state migration intentions and actual migration 2 years later.

96% of migrants who wanted to stay in Switzerland actually stayed and 71% of those who wanted to leave the country actually left. Overall, intentions were a good predictor of behaviors

Wanner, Philippe. 2020. ‘Can Migrants’ Emigration Intentions Predict Their Actual Behaviors? Evidence from a Swiss Survey’. Journal of International Migration and Integration. doi: 10.1007/s12134-020-00798-7.

Living Together or Side by Side? New Study out now!

Our new study examines how residents in Switzerland perceive migration-related social change in their municipality, their place of work, and in public. We left the ivory tower and listened. The result is a detailed and diverse picture: Migration is perceived as part of social change more widely, but it’s not migration as such that evokes threat. Perceptions of threat and fear are a side-effect of wider social change and economic growth, such as changes to the built environment because of new buildings, cars and transportation, and a perceived impoverishment of social life. It is clear that a majority seek communities with local opportunities to meet and exchange, but many also recognize that the world changes.

The report is available in French (, German (, or Italian (