Labelling Migrants in Switzerland: Social, Political and Symbolic Dimensions

Author(s) : Francesca Poglia Mileti

Source :


« Nominal categories and names used to designate migrants are the expression of the evolution of the governability of the diversity within Switzerland’s migratory history. Different actors (governments, political movements, economic interest groups, scientists, statistics) have used them in order assess their vision of immigration. In response to this ethnic categorisation, immigrants and their descendants living in Switzerland are negotiating labels to show multiple citizenships in the different contexts they are embedded in. People we have interviewed for more than twenty years may refuse terms that are used in the different linguistic regions, prove their integration in the Swiss model of citizenship or take positions on transnational geopolitical issues. These claims of identity are often invisible but can be considered as ‘everyday life agency’ within ethnic relations where the power is unequally distributed. »


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