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Promoted, requested - and blocked? Integration Policy, Social Inequality and Biographies of Young People from Immigrant Families

At a glance


The project follows on from almost twenty years of research in the field of migration and integration and is based on a recently completed qualitative longitudinal study financed by the SNSF. Over a period of ten years (2006-2016), the study examined the transition to adulthood of young people from immigrant working families and asked about the mechanisms and patterns in the interplay of occupational, social and political positioning and integration. Central findings of the study relate to the tension between the pronounced state promotion and demand for integration on the one hand and the persistently discriminatory and exclusionary social structures, discourses and mechanisms on the other. Thanks to long-term observation, it has been possible to make visible the effects of integration policy (which has intensified in recent years) on individual biographies and subjective integration and positioning strategies. The findings make it clear that successful processes can be observed (e.g. in the sense of career advancement), but that these are made more difficult or impossible by structural and symbolic exclusion mechanisms (e.g. in the political and legal field) and/or unequal conditions of opportunity in the education system and the labour market. The objectives of the project described here are in-depth analyses of selected subject areas (including gender aspects in the positioning process or the biographical significance of naturalisation) and continuous further development of research on the relationship between integration policy, social inequality and the biographies of immigrants.