Project

Back to overview

Migration and security in Switzerland: Evolution and present status of its link in politics and law

Applicant Achermann Christin
Number 134849
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Centre de droit des migrations Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.05.2011 - 30.04.2013
Approved amount 229'090.00
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Sociology
Legal sciences

Keywords (9)

Migration; Security; Switzerland; Securitization; Migration law; Integration; Exclusion; Asylum; Criminalization

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Lay summary

Deutsch

Migration und Sicherheit in der Schweiz: Entwicklung und aktueller Stand ihrer Verknüpfung in Politik und Recht

Prof. Dr. Christin Achermann, Zentrum für Migrationsrecht ZFM und Zentrum für sozialwissenschaftliche Analysen MAPS, Universität Neuchâtel

In der aktuellen schweizerischen Migrationspolitik spielen Sicherheits-Argumente und -Praktiken eine wichtige Rolle. Die Studie geht in einer rechtssoziologischen Perspektive der Frage nach, was in einem bestimmten Zusammenhang mit „Sicherheit“ gemeint ist und wie Migration zu einem Sicherheitsthema wird.

Eine der zentralen Aufgaben eines Staates ist es, für die Sicherheit seiner BürgerInnen und des Staatswesens zu sorgen. Wird ein gesellschaftliches Phänomen durch Diskurse oder Praktiken mit Sicherheit in Verbindung gebracht, erlangt es hohe politische Bedeutung. Politische und gesetzgeberische Massnahmen, die mit Sicherheitsargumenten begründet werden, geniessen zudem hohe Legitimität. Die internationale Forschung zeigt, dass die Verbindung von Migration und Sicherheit seit Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts und spätestens seit den terroristischen Anschlägen in den USA von 2001 zu einem wichtigen Aspekt der Migrationspolitik wurde. In der Schweiz ist dieser Zusammenhang bislang nicht systematisch untersucht worden. Jüngste politische Ereignisse wie die Annahme der Minarett- oder der Ausschaffungsinitiative weisen daraufhin, dass auch in der Schweiz Migrationspolitik und -recht von Sicherheitsargumenten beeinflusst werden. Vielfach bleibt dabei jedoch diffus, was genau mit „Sicherheit“ gemeint ist bzw. was als Bedrohung dargestellt wird, was genau bedroht wird und welche Ziele eine solche Argumentation verfolgt.

Ziel der Studie ist es, die Verknüpfung von Migration mit Sicherheitsthemen in der schweizerischen Migrationspolitik und im Migrationsrecht seit Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts zu analysieren. Mittels qualitativer Analyse ausgewählter Ereignisse in den Themenfeldern Integration, Ausschluss und Asyl soll aufgezeigt werden, ob und gegebenenfalls in welchem Kontext eine solche Verknüpfung zu beobachten ist, wie sie hergestellt wird und auf welchen Sicherheitsbegriff dabei Bezug genommen wird. Hierzu werden v.a. parlamentarische Debatten, Gesetzestexte und die Rechtsprechung untersucht.

Die Studie möchte einerseits Aufschluss darüber geben, wie Sicherheit als Legitimation für vielfältige gesellschaftliche Ausschliessungsprozesse mobilisiert wird. Sie trägt damit zu einem verbesserten Verständnis jener Mechanismen bei, welche das Zusammenleben von „uns“ mit „andern“, die potenziell als Bedrohung wahrgenommen und dargestellt werden, prägen. Darüber hinaus zielt das Projekt darauf, die Schweiz im internationalen migrationspolitischen Kontext zu positionieren und mittels einer qualitativ-rechtssoziologischen und historisch ausgerichteten Studie einen breiteren Beitrag zum Verständnis und zur Theoretisierung der Verknüpfung von Migration mit Sicherheit zu leisten.

 

Français 

Migration et sécurité en Suisse: développement et état actuel de leurs liens en politique et en droit

Prof. Dr. Christin Achermann, Centre de Droit des Migrations (CDM) et Maison d’Analyse des Processus Sociaux (MAPS), Université de Neuchâtel

Les arguments et pratiques sécuritaires jouent un rôle important dans la politique migratoire suisse actuelle. Cette recherche adopte une perspective de sociologie du droit afin d’éclaircir la signification que revêt la notion de sécurité dans ce contexte, ainsi que les processus par lesquels la migration est transformée en une question de sécurité.

Le maintien de la sécurité est considéré comme une des tâches essentielles de l’Etat. Ainsi, les politiques et les mesures législatives justifiées par des arguments sécuritaires revêtent une grande légitimité. En outre, un phénomène traité sous l’angle de la sécurité acquiert une importance politique considérable. Des études menées dans plusieurs pays montrent que les rapports entre la thématique des migrations et celle de la sécurité se sont accentués à la fin du 20e siècle, et que - à la suite des attentats terroristes du 11 septembre 2001 aux USA - les questions de sécurité sont devenues un aspect primordial des politiques migratoires. En Suisse, les récentes initiatives sur les minarets ou sur le renvoi des étrangers criminels suggèrent que la politique migratoire suisse est, elle-aussi, influencée par des arguments de type sécuritaire. Pourtant, les liens entre ces deux thématiques n’ont encore jamais été étudiés de manière systématique dans le cas de la Suisse. La signification attribuée au terme de «sécurité», la définition de la « menace », ainsi que les objectifs que poursuivent ces mesures demeurent flous. 

L’objectif de cette recherche est d’analyser du lien entre migration et sécurité dans la politique et le droit des migrations en Suisse depuis le début du 20e siècle. Une analyse qualitative de mesures relevant des domaines de l’intégration, de l’exclusion et de l’asile viserait à voir : est-ce qu’un lien entre ces deux thématiques est établi et dans quel cas, par quels processus, et en référence à quelle notion de sécurité? Pour cela, des débats parlementaires, des mesures législatives, et la jurisprudence s’y rapportant seront analysés.

Les résultats de la recherche devraient permettre d’éclairer les mécanismes par lesquels les arguments et pratiques sécuritaires permettent de légitimer des processus d’exclusion sociale. Ils contribueront ainsi à une meilleure compréhension des mécanismes de construction d’un „nous“ opposé à un „eux“, considéré comme une menace. En outre, le projet vise à situer la Suisse dans le contexte de la politique migratoire internationale, et de contribuer à la compréhension et à la théorisation du lien entre migration et sécurité par une analyse qualitative de sociologie du droit adoptant une perspective historique. 

 

English

Migration and security in Switzerland: Evolution and present status of its link in politics and law

Prof. Dr. Christin Achermann, Center for Migration Law (CDM) and Center for the Understanding of Social Processes (MAPS) at the University of Neuchâtel

Security discourses and practices play an important role in contemporary Swiss migration politics. This study uses a sociological approach to analyse the notion of security in relation to migration issues and to examine how migration is framed as a security issue.

By definition, states are responsible for guaranteeing security to their citizens and security related questions are therefore necessarily a political topic. When a social phenomenon is associated through discourses and practices with security, it has the potential to achieve high political significance. Political and legislative measures that frame a social process as a security issue can therefore gain high legitimacy and political meaning. The current state of research shows that the nexus between security issues and migration, referred to as the “securitization” of migration, has become an important aspect of migration policy in all major countries of immigration since the end of the 20th century. This link was reinforced in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. In Switzerland, the aforementioned link has not yet been studied systematically. Recent political events such as the support by Swiss voters of the referendum to ban the building of minarets or the adoption of the expulsion initiative indicate that Swiss migration policy and law is also affected by security arguments. Yet some issues remain unclear, notably the meaning of security that is conveyed when related to migration, the definition and the framing of a threat invoked when blaming immigration for causing insecurity and, following from this, the call for extreme measures.

The aim of the research is to study the migration-security nexus in Swiss politics and law since the beginning of the 20th century. Based on qualitative analysis within three distinct fields of Swiss migration policy and law (asylum, integration and exclusion), this study examines if and in which context such a nexus can be observed, how it works, and what understanding of security different actors convey when the migration-security nexus is applied to migration politics and law. In order to answer these questions, the study will focus on legal, political and administrative discourse and practice.

“Securitization” of migration implies the – symbolic, legal and practiced – exclusion of people who are considered a threat to society. As such, it seems important to develop in the Swiss context a deeper understanding of the meaning of security and threat, of what lies behind such framing processes, what implications and maybe side effects securitization has, as well as a critical view of the evolution of this link over time. Thus, the results of this study will provide policymakers and administrations with information on how Switzerland is positioned in its manner of dealing with migration as compared to other states. The sociological qualitative approach combined with a historical perspective will provide a better theoretical understanding of the nexus between migration and security issues.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Séminaire pour jeunes chercheur-e-s : « Global Migration Governance and Territories » 02.12.2011 Montpelier, France
Doktorandentagung des Zentrums für Migrationsrecht 04.11.2011 Oberdorf/SO
PhD Course in Philosophies of Migration 26.09.2011 Copenhagen, Denmark
Europeanisation of exclusion policies and practices, Workshop co-financed by IMISCOE Research Network, SFM and University of Neuchâtel 17.06.2011 Neuchâtel, Schweiz


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
146037 Migration and security in Switzerland: Evolution and present status of its link in politics and law (part II) 01.05.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Since the end of the 20th century, the nexus between security issues and migration has become more prominent in major countries of immigration, both among policy-makers and researchers. In the literature, this linkage is referred to as the ‘securitization of migration’ or ‘the migration-security nexus’. While this trend was reinforced in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in the United States and the subsequent bombings in Madrid and London, scholars agree that the connection between these two fields is not new. Departing from the observation that, at present, security plays a major role in regulating migration, the main objective of this research project is to explore the migration-security nexus in Switzerland from the beginning of the 20th century until the present. In security studies, the notion of security has been defined as being characterized by three constitutive elements: the existence of a threat (1) that endangers a referent object (2) and thus creates a necessity for emergency measures (3) to guarantee security. ‘Securitization’ refers to the process of addressing an issue within a security framework, i.e. defining it as an existential threat to the political order and thereby making all other issues secondary. Thus, security is not used as a sign which refers to an already existing object, but the enunciation itself produces and modifies reality into a secu-rity issue. In this sense, the question to be asked is not whether migration actually does pose a threat to the host society, but how migration is turned into a security issue. In Switzerland, contrary to other countries, there has been no study which explicitly deals with the link between migration and security. The proposed study is to be situated in the tradition of critical security studies which argue for a reflexive concept of security and are interested in the process of its construction and transformation as well as in securitizing processes. However, the proposed research project is char-acterized by some particularities: Our understanding of the securitization process is not limited to the discourse itself, but involves political, legal and administrative practices - especially the creation of laws or the implementation of pro-cedures - and the broader socio-political context in which these discourses and practices take place. Furthermore, we will take into account a broad range of referent objects and not limit ourselves to the political order. Finally, by not tak-ing for granted the existence of the securitization of migration in Switzerland, our approach is qualitative-inductive and aims at investigating empirically the micro-aspects of this discursive and practical linkage.The main research questions are as follows: When used in the context of migration politics and law, what precise un-derstanding of security do different actors defend in different contexts? Are there processes of securitization of mi-gration in the discourse and practice of Swiss politics, administration and law? If so, how do they work and what implications do they have? What are the particularities of the Swiss case compared to other countries? How have the notions of security and securitizing processes evolved throughout the 20th, and at the transition to the 21st, century? What differences or parallels are there in different thematic areas of migration politics and law? In order to answer these questions, we will focus on legal, political and administrative discourse and practice. The main data to be used in this respect are texts (reports, records of parliamentary debates, etc.) produced by the federal parliament and administration during the legislative process. Furthermore, federal legal bases concerning migration and security, as well as case law in the implementation of legal grounds will be analysed. Finally, a number of expert interviews will be carried out with members of administrations, parliament and courts concerning securitizing processes and the notion of security in the migration context. In order to limit the potentially vast material - temporal, legal and thematic restrictions will be defined at the outset of the study.A study of migration and security in Switzerland is warranted not only due to the above mentioned gap in research, but also because it is of a general societal interest: As securitizing processes imply the symbolic, legal and practiced exclu-sion of people who are considered to be a threat to society, a deeper understanding of the meanings of security and threat, of what lies behind such framing processes, of what implications and even side-effects it may have, as well as a critical view of the evolution of this link over time seem important.
-