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Placements of Swiss and foreign minors in border regions: The cases of the cantons of Valais and Ticino

English title Placements of Swiss and foreign minors in border regions: The cases of the cantons of Valais and Ticino
Applicant Cattacin Sandro
Number 177439
Funding scheme NRP 76 Welfare and coercion
Research institution Département de Sociologie Faculté des Sciences de la Société Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Swiss history
Start/End 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2022
Approved amount 580'834.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Swiss history
Sociology

Keywords (6)

denied childhood; Ticino; Border Cantons; foreign minors; Fremdplatzierung; Valais

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Le projet reconstruira les placements extrafamiliaux des mineurs en Valais et au Tessin, depuis les années 1940 - marquées par le début du boom économique de la Suisse, la professionnalisation du secteur social et sa transformation démographique - jusqu'à la crise économique de la moitié des années 1970.
Lay summary

Le projet vise à analyser les processus et la dynamique qui ont conduit deux cantons frontaliers, le Valais et le Tessin, à gérer les mesures de coercition a des fins d’assistance et placements extrafamiliaux (Fremdplatzierungen) de mineurs suisses et étrangers sur leur territoire cantonal ou dans les provinces limitrophes en Italie entre les années 1940 et 1970.

Parmi les questions de recherche figurent notamment celles-ci: 
- Comment les différences sociales, politiques et institutionnelles entre les deux cantons ont-elles affecté le placement des mineurs étrangers? Quelles sont les différences entre les régions linguistiques germanophones et francophones du Valais? 
- Comment les facteurs économiques ont-ils influencé les décisions des deux cantons?
- Quel rôle les questions religieuses dans ces deux cantons catholiques, ont-elles joué dans les décisions des institutions concernant le placement des enfants ?
- Comment les règles et procédures suivies pour les mineurs suisses ont-elles influencé la manière dont ces institutions géraient les mineurs étrangers ?
- Quelles relations les institutions cantonales entretenaient-elles avec les institutions italiennes ?

Le projet de recherche sera conduite en s’appuyant aux méthodes de l’histoire sociale aussi bien que de la Global history, en conjonction avec des outils analytiques et des concepts des sciences sociales. Pour reconstruire l’histoire des placements en Valais, au Tessin et dans les régions frontalières italiennes il faut se concentrer non seulement sur les victimes de ce système, mais aussi sur les institutions et les groupes impliqués à de multiples niveaux (cantonal et local, églises, familles, enfants, etc.) et à différentes échelles d’analyse, ainsi que sur les représentations fournies et perçues du phénomène. L’historie du placement lui-même sera lu et interprété comme une clé globale. On reconstruira le parcours de ceux qui ont vécu le phénomène, mais aussi de ceux qui l’ont géré; l’histoire des lieux et des frontières, et de la façon dont les communautés et les sociétés ont été affectées et transformées.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.06.2018

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
Il progetto intende ricostruire i collocamenti extrafamiliari dei minori in Vallese e in Ticino a partire dagli anni Quaranta - caratterizzati dall’inizio del boom economico svizzero, dalla professionalizzazione del settore sociale e dalla trasformazione demografica - fino alla crisi economica della metà degli anni Settanta.
Lay summary

Il progetto ha l’obiettivo di analizzare i processi e le dinamiche che hanno portato due cantoni di confine, il Vallese e il Ticino, a gestire misure coercitive a scopo assistenziale e sul collocamento extrafamiliare (Fremdplatzierungen) che hanno interessato minori svizzeri e stranieri, sia nel territorio cantonale che nelle province italiane confinanti tra gli anni Quaranta e gli anni Settanta.

Gli interrogativi cui si cercherà di rispondere sono i seguenti :

- In che modo le differenze sociali, politiche e istituzionali tra i due Cantoni hanno influito sulle scelte di collocamento dei minori stranieri? Quali sono le differenze tra le aree linguistiche tedesca e francese nel Vallese? 

- In che modo i fattori economici hanno influenzato le decisioni dei due Cantoni?

- In che modo l’aspetto religioso, in due cantoni cattolici, ha influito sulle decisioni istituzionali relative al collocamento dei bambini?

- Le norme e le procedure applicate ai minori svizzeri hanno influenzato il modus operandi delle istituzioni nei confronti dei minori stranieri?

- Quali sono stati i rapporti tra le istituzioni cantonali e le istituzioni italiane?

La metodologia alla base del progetto è quella della storia sociale e della Global history, abbinata a strumenti analitici e concetti delle scienze sociali. Per ricostruire la storia dei collocamenti in Vallese, in Ticino e nelle regioni di confine italiane è necessario concentrarsi non solo sulle vittime di questo sistema, ma anche sulle istituzioni e sui gruppi coinvolti a diverso livello (cantonale e locale, religioso, familiare, infanzia, ecc.) e prendere in considerazione diverse scale di analisi, nonché le rappresentazioni fornite e percepite del fenomeno. La stessa storia del collocamento sarà letta e interpretata in chiave globale. Sarà ricostruito il percorso di chi ha vissuto il fenomeno, ma anche di chi lo ha gestito, la storia dei luoghi e dei confini, il modo in cui le comunità e le società ne sono state interessate, colpite e trasformate.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.06.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The project will reconstruct the placement system for minors in Valais and Ticino, from the 1940s - the beginning of Switzerland’s economic boom, the professionalization of its social sector and its demographic transformation - to the economic crisis of the mid-1970.
Lay summary

The project aims to analyse the processes and dynamics that led two border cantons, Valais and Ticino, to manage compulsory social measures and placements (Fremdplatzierungen) of Swiss and foreign minors in either their cantonal territory or bordering provinces in Italy between the 1940s and the 1970s. 

The key research questions are the following:
- How did social, political and institutional differences between the two cantons affect the placement of foreign minors? What were the differences in the German- and French-speaking regions of Valais?
How did economic factors influence the decisions of both cantons?
- What role did religious issues in these cantons, both Catholic, play in institutions’ decisions regarding where to place children?
- How did the rules and procedures followed for Swiss minors influence the ways in which these institutions managed foreign minors?
- What relationships did cantonal institutions maintain with Italian ones? 

The study will use a social history methodology comprised of techniques from the field of Global history in conjunction with analytical tools and concepts from the social sciences. Retracing the history of the placement system in Valais, Ticino and Italian border regions requires focusing on not only the victims of this system, but also the institutions and groups involved at multiple levels (cantonal and local levels, churches, families, children, etc.) and at different scales of analysis, as well as on the provided and perceived representation of the phenomenon. The history of placement itself will be read and interpreted as a global key. The story to be narrated is that of those who lived the phenomenon, but also of those who managed it; it is the story of places and borders, and of how communities and societies were affected and transformed.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.06.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Abstract

The project aims to analyse the processes and dynamics that led two border cantons, Valais and Ticino, to manage compulsory social measures and placements (Fremdplatzierungen) of Swiss and foreign minors in either their cantonal territory or bordering provinces in Italy between the 1940s and the 1970s. The institutions and groups involved were: •the Cantons of Valais and Ticino and their respective municipalities;•the Swiss Confederation, in regard to the laws of management of migrant minors;•Italy, in regard to the management of its migrant minors and the institutions funded on its territory in areas bordering Switzerland;•the local authorities in the cantons and Italian border regions;•the Catholic Church, which managed most of the institutions on both sides of the border;•the supervisors of the institutions;•minors’ advocacy groups; and•private childcare organisations (e.g. Pro Juventute and the Red Cross).The project will reconstruct the placement system for minors in this geographical area, from the 1940s - the beginning of Switzerland’s economic boom, the professionalization of its social sector and its demographic transformation - to the economic crisis of the mid-1970s. The key research questions are the following: •How did social, political and institutional differences between the two cantons affect the placement of foreign minors? What were the differences in the German- and French-speaking regions of Valais?•How did economic factors influence the decisions of both cantons, which still had poor and rural areas?•What role did religious issues in these cantons, both Catholic, play in institutions’ decisions regarding where to place children?•How did the rules and procedures followed for Swiss minors influence the ways in which these institutions managed foreign minors?•What relationships did cantonal institutions maintain with Italian ones? Did Switzerland place orphans and other children in Italian institutions between 1940 and 1975, as had happened in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?In order to address these issues, the following analyses will be conducted:•a quantitative and qualitative reconstruction of the phenomenon and a typology of the institutions involved (e.g. institutions, orphanages, juvenile prisons);•an identification of the status (civil, criminal, economic, health, citizenship) of the children involved and the treatment processes accorded them depending on their status;•a reconstruction of the minors’ status during the placement period as a result of compulsory, semi-compulsory and/or voluntary strategies;•an analysis of organisational dynamics (management logics and internal and external legitimation strategies);•an analysis of changes in the institutions’ practices over time.The study will use a social history methodology comprised of techniques from the field of Global history in conjunction with analytical tools and concepts from the social sciences. Retracing the history of the placement system in Valais, Ticino and Italian border regions requires focusing on not only the victims of this system, but also the institutions and groups involved at multiple levels (cantonal and local levels, churches, families, children, etc.) and at different scales of analysis, as well as on the provided and perceived representation of the phenomenon. The history of placement itself will be read and interpreted as a global key. The story to be narrated is that of those who lived the phenomenon, but also of those who managed it; it is the story of places and borders, and of how communities and societies were affected and transformed.
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