Transnational Ageing among Older Migrants and Natives: A Strategy to Overcome Vulnerability 

Professorship Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation, PP00P1_179077 / 1
March 2019 – February 2023


This project will develop a better understanding of transnational practices to overcome vulnerability in old age by doing an innovative comparison between older international migrants, internal migrants and natives. The aims are to provide a comprehensive overview of the processes through which some overcome vulnerabilities and others do not by studying the forms of transnationalism developed to face age-related hardships.

TransAge is triggered by 3 limitations in research.

  • Worldwide older populations, including migrants, are growing. Yet, there is little comparative research on older natives and migrants.
  • There is an assumption that older migrants are more vulnerable than natives. Without denying the situations of vulnerability among older migrants, TransAge challenges this assumption. The goal is to explore in-depth the use of resources and agency to overcome vulnerability in old age, and the way older persons develop transnational practices to surpass difficulties.
  • According to the literature, transnationalism pertains solely to migrant populations. We challenge this view, arguing that in our current globalized society with increased mobility, non-migrant populations exhibit equally transnational behaviours.

TransAge will be groundbreaking by applying a transnational lens to international migrants, internal migrants and people who have not experienced migration. The project will employ mixed-methods to study older natives and migrants in Switzerland, and older immobile natives and internal migrants in Italy. An innovative multi-sited quantitative survey of forms of transnationalism will be implemented. Additionally, ethnographic research will be conducted in the two countries. TransAge will provide a paradigm change in the study of older natives and migrants applicable to other countries and populations. The outcomes will advance the state-of-the-art in research on ageing and international migration by bridging these strands of scholarship, contribute to social policies, and to the well-being of older adults.