Master of Advanced Studies in

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Policies and Processes of Integration in Society

This module addresses macro (i.e. society) meso (i.e. community) and micro (i.e. individual and family) processes of integration. In order to set the scenery of such processes, the module begins by studying diversity of migrant population and integration policies in Europe; this allows locating the Swiss experience in the broader European picture. Moreover, it outlines the main theoretical approaches to integration in the scientific literature in order to provide a common background for the study of integration processes. The module further provides an overall picture of educational and occupational positions and changes over time in various immigrant groups. It resorts to quantitative empirical studies in order to provide an aggregate picture of intergenerational social mobility; it relies on qualitative empirical studies to highlight strategies and resources mobilisation at individual and group level. More generally, the module shows the dynamic of ethnic boundaries at play in integration processes. Finally, the module tackles the issue of the interplay between processes of integration and migrants’ transnational practices.

In five units, we introduce participants to relevant social theory, present cutting-edge research findings, and discuss their implications for society and policies.


  • Diversity in migration and integration policies;
    • The module begins by sketching the increasing diversity of migrant populations in Europe deriving from the combination of labour migration, family reunification and humanitarian migration. Consequently, the Swiss case can be comparatively analysed.  

  • Theoretical frames for integration processes;
    • Aiming at providing a common background for the study of integration processes, the module provides a second introductory overview of the main theoretical frames developed in the scientific literature. The analysis of the main features of distinctive integration policies can thus refer to their underlying theoretical concepts.

  • Structural integration: quantitative approach;
    • This unit provides an aggregate picture of demographic characteristics as well as educational and occupational positions of various immigrant groups. Using the indicators designed to monitor integration, it shows how distance to the majority group of different immigrant groups evolved over time. The impact of different educational policies on school achievement is further analysed.

  • Intergenerational social mobility: resource mobilization, structural barriers, and ethnic boundaries;
    • Relying on qualitative empirical studies, this unit shows pathways to social mobility and at accounts for the micro processes leading to this outcome in migrant families, in terms of migratory project and resources mobilisation. This unit further discusses how individual social mobility, structural barriers and ethnic group processes concur in determining the feature of migrants’ integration processes.

  • Integration and transnationalism.
    • This last unit of the module accounts for the development of transnational practices among settled migrants’ and the consolidation of diasporic groups. On this basis, it discusses the interplay between processes of integration and migrants’ transnationalism.
Rosita Fibbi