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The Unprivileged Migrant Descendants: The Life-Course and Transition to Adulthood

At a glance


Swiss-born young people with a migratory background represent 10% of the resident population aged 15–24 in Switzerland. This number will ineluctably grow and their background will be more diversified given the increased mobility related to global inequalities. Yet, disadvantaged starting conditions are a threat to the whole individual life-course and may also have more societal costs in the long term.

Migration research has produced many theoretical insights into the integration processes of migrants and their children. There are, however, virtually no theoretical frameworks which consider the specific experiences of refugee families and their children, nor the case of those Swiss-born young whose parents came from an African or Asian country. Until now, these groups have been subsumed into the research evidence on the experiences of the children of labour migrants, mainly coming from European countries – the so-called second generation. Thus, the most unprivileged members of the second generation are absent from research. Unprivileged youth – defined in this project as those who have poorly educated parents with a refugee background and/or with African/Asian origins – became of age and represent a growing number among the second generation. It is therefore urgent to study their situation and the respective role in their life course played by class, racialisation, gender and legal background.

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