The role of super-diversity in shaping the perception of and services for older migrants

Author(s) : Ruxandra Oana Ciobanu

Source :


« Population ageing and international migration are on the rise. The common denominator between these two phenomena is the older migrant population, which has been steadily increasing in Northern America and Western Europe. The emergence of this population has been challenging institutional practices and services due to a growth in heterogeneity. Against this background, the paper aims to answer two questions: (1) does super-diversity in the older native population have an impact on the ways in which practitioners regard and refer to older migrants? and (2) what kind of service responses does the recognition of super-diversity as a characteristic of the older population, both native and migrant, lead to? The empirical analysis focuses on Switzerland, a highly relevant case for two reasons: first due to the heterogeneity within the native population, given its three linguistic regions, and second due to the large proportion of (older) migrants. Based on 33 in-depth interviews with representatives of local institutions dealing with older persons including migrants in Switzerland; the conclusion of the paper is that super-diversity in the majority population can potentially lead to a recognition and acceptance of super-diversity in other populations, and in this case older migrants. Yet, at an institutional level super-diversity can translate in over-individualized tailored services, which can unintentionally contribute to inequality. »

Keywords: Older migrants, (Super-)diversity, Otherness, Switzerland


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