Research projects

Current projects

Immigrant Solidarity in Switzerland: Attitudes and Practices of Support to Others

Dir. : Marco Giugni

Collaborations : Eva Fernandez Guzman Grassi, Cristina El Khoury


The proposed research project focuses on immigrant solidarity, that is, immigrants’ attitudes and practices of support on the part of immigrants for the welfare and/or rights of others. Immigrant solidarity will be studied by taking into account aspects located at the micro-level (identifying and analysing the attitudes and practices associated with the diversity of forms of solidarity on the part of immigrants, considering how the impact of unequal immigrant trajectories can shape immigrant solidarity), meso-level (looking at the interplay between immigrants’ embeddedness within social networks and immigrant solidarity attitudes and practices, both cross-sectionally and over time), and macro-level (examining how the contextual setting of host societies favours or hinders immigrant solidarity). We addresses the following research questions: What are the forms of immigrants’ attitudes and practices of solidarity in Switzerland? What factors shapes such attitudes and practices? To what extent do immigrants' access and embeddedness in networks influence their solidarity practices and attitudes? How do subnational political contexts concerning immigrants' social and political inclusion interact with their attitudes and practices of solidarity? How does immigrants’ social embeddedness and subnational political contexts interact and shape immigrant solidarity? Two main working hypothesis guide the project. First, variation across subnational integration regimes influence immigrant solidarity, either directly or indirectly via their impact on immigrants' access to resources and networks. Secondly, the differences in attitudes and practices of solidarity among immigrants are most likely related to their life trajectories, according to their legal status and unequal access to human and social capitals, which shape their solidarity towards others. The proposed research relies on a mixed-methods approach combining a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods of data retrieval and analysis. Specifically, we will employ five distinct methodologies, each allowing us to capture different aspects of immigrant solidarity: a systematic review of the literature on immigrant solidarity; an analysis of public policies and practices towards the promotion of immigrants inclusion in the host society at the Cantonal level; an analysis of existing longitudinal surveys; survey experiments; and biographical interviews. The project will contribute to the literature on immigration and solidarity in a number of ways: by providing key insights to understand the immigrant category as multifaceted and subjected depending on individual life trajectories; by further developing the conceptualisation of structural inequalities and individual well-being as covariates of solidarity across vulnerable groups; by improving our understanding of immigrants' preferences for institutional and non-institutional forms of solidarity; by generating robust and methodologically sound datasets across diverse levels of analysis; and by enhancing the active use of extremely valuable research data produced by other researchers, favouring a prime venue to bring together Swiss immigration interdisciplinary scholarship.

Engagements civiques et politiques des seniors : Se battre pour le climat pour bien vieillir ?

Bien que peu connus et souvent invisibles, les engagements des seniors pour le climat sont importants. De nombreux seniors s’engagent en rejoignant des associations telles que « Grands-parents pour le climat » ou en adaptant leurs modes de vie afin de réduire leur empreinte carbone. Cette recherche s’intéresse à la fois aux antécédents à ces engagements et à leurs conséquences pour le bien-être. Nous postulons que malgré les obstacles à vivre ce type d’engagement dans une société de consommation, leurs effets sont positifs pour certaines dimensions du bien-être. Ils permettraient en particulier de renforcer le sentiment d’accomplissement de soi des personnes qui s’engagent et d’améliorer leur bien-être social. Pour ce qui est des antécédents à l’engagement, notre hypothèse est qu’en plus de facteurs structurels, le type de préoccupation associé au changement climatique joue un rôle essentiel.

Funding agency : Fondation Leenaards

Project leaders : Jan Rosset et Jasmine Lorenzini

Website :


Mobilizing for Basic Incomes: Social Innovation in Motion

The research project “Mobilizing for Basic Incomes: Social Innovation in Motion (MOBILISE)” investigates the role and influence of civil society organizations (CSOs) on the recent adoption of several Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot tests in Europe. Rising levels of (long-term) unemployment, growing poverty levels and increasing income inequality in several European countries, have prompted greater interest in basic income schemes. Policy makers are under pressure to deliver solutions that redress the social consequences of the crisis, while the unfolding of the so-called fourth industrial revolution threatens thousands of jobs. In this context, several countries are experimenting with new social protection schemes. A basic (or universal) income is a periodic cash payment delivered to all citizens without means test or work requirements. UBI can be thought as a more universal form of minimum income (MI) which requires that beneficiaries meet those conditions. While MI schemes target the poor, UBI is aimed at all citizens or residents in a country irrespective of their socio-economic situation. As UBI programmes are not yet fully developed anywhere in the world, we understand that lower degrees of conditionality and higher degrees of coverage and generosity proximate MI to UBI ideals. MOBILISE investigates the role of civil society organizations in the unprecedented launching of several UBI pilot tests across Europe. The project adopts a comparative, mixed-methods research design that includes two levels of analysis (local and national). In the first step (national level), I conduct a comparative analysis of the influence of economic and political factors in shaping the trajectories of minimum income reforms in the EU since 2005.  In the second step (local level), I will study the social and political processes that have led three local administrations to start income support experiments that come close to UBI ideals: Barcelona, Utrecht and Edinburgh.

Funding source: Commission Européenne (H2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship)
Scientific responsible: Marco Giugni
Collaborator: César Guzmán-Concha
Is the Integration of Muslim Migrants More Difficult? Unpacking the Differences of the Social, Economic, Civic and Political Integration of Muslim and Non-Muslim Migrants in Switzerland in Comparative Perspective

This project examines the patterns of economic, social, civic and political integration of Muslim migrants and asks whether, indeed, they are different to those of non-Muslim migrants. The project will critically address the conceptualizations and operationalizations of 'Muslimness' and of 'integration' to overcome the theoretical and conceptual limitations in prior existing research on this topic. In the context of COST Action 16111 ETHMIGSURVEYDATA, it will locate, compile, make available, post-harmonize and pool the quantitative survey data available in Switzerland and Europe that include samples of Muslim and non-Muslim migrants. Using Propensity Score Matching, the project will address the methodological shortcomings of prior research that does not disentangle the effect of being of Muslim faith from that of other confounders linked to the migration process of Muslims living in Europe. With a research team formed by Prof Giugni, Dr Kolbe, Prof Morales and one post-doctoral researcher, this project will offer highly novel datasets and findings that will contribute to scientific progress in this area and that will be able to inform public and policy debates on the challenges of integrating migrants into European societies. fair and an applied game along with scientific and policy dialogue workshops and conferences.

More information here

Funding source: Swiss National Science Foundation (COST)
Main applicant: Marco Giugni
Collaborator: Natalia Malancu
External collaborators: Laura Morales (Sciences Po), Melanie Kolbe (The Graduate Institute Geneva)
Political Consumerism in Switzerland: Linking Food Consumption, Conceptions of Citizenship, and Political Engagements

This project studies the consumption of food be it, for instance, local, fair trade, organic, or vegan as political acts in the Swiss context. The aim is to understand the underlying political values and the political choices - if any - that citizens make when choosing to buy or refusing to buy specific goods and services in the food sector. This research focuses on a specific form of political participation based on an everyday engagement. It proposes to study this form of engagement in relation to specific conceptions of citizenship and democracy that different types of citizens and consumers may hold. Furthermore, the project analyzes the role of civil society organizations in shaping consumption choices and modes of political engagement. In so doing, the project contributes to understanding how citizens engage with politics through alternative modes of participation in times of growing political disengagement.


Funding agency: Swiss National Fund, Ambizione program

Scientific leader: Jasmine Lorenzini


SIRIUS – Skills and Integration of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Applicants in European Labour Markets

Despite the polarization in public and policy debates generated by the post-2014 fluxes of refugees, asylum applicants and migrants, European countries need to work out an evidence-based way to deal with migration and asylum rather than a prejudice-based one. The proposed project, SIRIUS, builds on a multi-dimensional conceptual framework in which host country or political-institutional, societal and individual-related conditions function either as enablers or as barriers to migrants’, refugees’ and asylum seekers’ integration via the labour market. SIRIUS has three main objectives: A descriptive objective: To provide systematic evidence on post-2014 migrants, refugees and asylum applicants especially women and young people and their potential for labour market employment and, more broadly, social integration. An explanatory objective: To advance knowledge on the complexity of labour market integration for post-2014 migrants, refugees and asylum applicants, and to explore their integration potential by looking into their spatial distribution (in relation to the distribution of labour demand across the labour market), while taking into account labour market characteristics and needs in different country and socio-economic contexts. A prescriptive objective: To advance a theoretical framework for an inclusive integration agenda, outlining an optimal mix of policy pathways for labour market integration including concrete steps that Member States and other European countries along with the EU can take to ensure that migrant-integration policies and the broader system of workforce development, training, and employment programmes support new arrivals’ access to decent work opportunities and working conditions. SIRIUS has a mixed methods approach and innovative dissemination plan involving online priority action networks, film essays, festival, job fair and an applied game along with scientific and policy dialogue workshops and conferences.

Funding source: European Commission (H2020)
Scientific responsible: Marco Giugni
Collaborators: Eva Fernández-Guzmán, Maria Mexi, Paula Moreno Russi
Social and Solidarity Economy, Urban Communities and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

Since 2008, the European Union has become synonymous with crises: the economic crisis, the Eurozone crisis, and finally the refugee crisis. As the economic crisis and the social spending cuts bit deeper into the social body, European societies further witnessed the weakening of solidarity policies for the social protection of the unemployed native-born, the migrants, and the newly arrived refugees and a rise in xenophobia and populist politics that blamed migrants and refugees for the economic upheavals and the struggle of the local communities, while emphasizing their ''otherness'' and position as outsiders. Against this background, this research project aims to: 1) Examine how the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), by nature-oriented toward solidarity and reciprocity, can effectively contribute to building solidarity for, protecting and integrating refugees, migrants, and the unemployed native-born within local communities and labour markets, and what enabling policy environments are required. The potentials, challenges and tensions involved in this regard within a context of austerity and welfare retrenchment, growing xenophobia and populist politics will also be assessed; 2). Generate evidence and policy suggestions to maximize the potential of SSE actors to integrate refugees, migrants, and the unemployed native-born at local level, and to create spaces and relationships of solidarity in times when integration can become a highly contentious issue. Three localities will be examined as case studies: Geneva (Switzerland), Bergamo (Italy), and Heraklion (Greece). Ultimately, the project's comparative findings will inform scholarly and policy debates, by providing concrete recommendations on the SSE potential for addressing vulnerable groups in highly contentious times.

Funding source: Swiss Network for International Studies
Coordinator: Marco Giugni
Co-coordinators: Maria Mexi, Florence Passy (University of Lausanne)
Collaborators: Maria Mexi, Victor Sanchez-Mazas
EURYKA – Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities

The proposed project aims to study the relations between inequalities and young people's ways of doing politics as well as to advance scenarios for future democratic models and political systems in Europe that are more inclusive for young people. It has three main objectives: (1) To provide systematic evidence on the ways in which inequalities are lived by young people and (re)acted upon, exploring the coping mechanisms which are embedded in young people's ways of doing politics; these coping mechanisms are manifested in multiple forms, i.e. as either political (dis)engagement and contestation online and offline or as (trans-)national democratic innovation and experimentation; (2) To advance knowledge on the conditions and causes underpinning young people's ways of doing politics; this involves an examination of their norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors regarding democracy, power, politics, policymaking, social and political participation (online and offline) and the organization of economic, social and private life in order to identify ways to strengthen youth political participation and engagement with democratic life in Europe; (3) To suggest a number of different future scenarios for the development of democracy and political participation in Europe, putting particular emphasis on implementing new democratic models that are more inclusive for young people especially those with fewer opportunities. The research design consists of a multidimensional theoretical framework that combines macro-level (institutional), meso-level (organizational), and micro-level (individual) explanatory factors, a cross-national comparative design that includes nine European countries with different institutional arrangements and policies towards youth, and an integrated methodological approach based on multiple sources and methods (policy analysis, claims-making analysis, organizational survey, panel survey, survey experiments, biographical interviews, and social media analysis).

Funding source: European commission (H2020), SERI (Swiss participation)
Coordinator: Marco Giugni
Collaborators: Eva Fernández Guzmán, Valentina Holecz, Maria Mexi; Victor Sanchez-Mazas

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Citizenship and Immigration: An Empirical and Normative Analysis of Swiss Philosophy of Integration

Switzerland is going through a progressive transformation of its multicultural, social and political dynamics. One of the effects of such transformations is the politicization, contestation, racialization, and (re)interpretation of the symbolic as well as the social and political meanings of common belonging, citizenship and integration. One manifestation of this process has been the revival of assimilationist discourses and political acts that target Muslims. The pressure put on this population to assimilate (or integrate) is generally justified by the necessity to protect and to preserve basic (universal) democratic norms, values and practices. What does such a justification reveal about the Swiss model of citizenship? Is it politically and morally justified? Based on a political theory perspective, the project will, first, hermeneutically and empirically reconstruct the main political and discursive logics that have determined the dynamics of integration politics in the last 15 years. It will then assess whether there is something in the Swiss public philosophy of integration that can explain the continuity of an assimilationist approach toward new immigrants (and in particular Muslims). The project will further investigate the discursive resources that have contributed to crystallizing the social representations of Muslims as figures of otherness. It will analyze whether these resources are specific to the “new” Muslim immigration or whether they are the actualization of representations attached to “old” immigration groups. The ultimate goal of the project is to build a substantial political theory of democratic integration in multicultural societies – build upon the analysis of the Swiss case.

Funding source: Swiss National Science Foundation (NCCR – on the move)
Main applicant: Matteo Gianni
Collaborators: Esma Baycan, Noémi Michel

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