Project

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Vulnerability in Old Age: A Comparative Approach

Applicant Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana
Number 171274
Funding scheme Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants
Research institution Centre Interfacultaire de Gérontologie et d'Études des Vulnérabilités (CIGEV) Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.02.2017 - 28.02.2019
Approved amount 263'820.00
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Keywords (7)

vulnerability; older migrants; ageing; comparative research; loneliness; older persons; welfare

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Dans le monde entier, la population vieillissante augmente. Récemment, une prise de conscience s'est faite autour de la question du vieillissement des migrants dans leur société d'accueil, que ce soit dans le cas d'immigrés arrivés quelques décennies plus tôt comme travailleurs ou ayant migrés plus tardivement dans leur parcours, après la retraite. Comme d’autres pays européens, la Suisse expérimente un vieillissement rapide de sa population, y compris migrante. Pour cela, l’étude des personnes âgées prend une importance démographique et socio-économique cruciale.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Ce projet Marie Heim-Vögtlin a pour objectif de comparer les personnes âgées d’origine étrangère et natives en Suisse, et les migrants âgés de Suisse et du Luxembourg.
Le projet s’articule autour de trois axes:
(1) Le premier vise à explorer les similitudes et les différences entre la vulnérabilité des migrants âgés et des Suisses. Souvent, les migrants sont supposés plus vulnérables que les Suisses. Ce projet ne cherche pas à nier les situations de vulnérabilité parmi les migrants, mais au contraire à explorer les manques ou les moyens à disposition des uns et des autres pour surmonter cette vulnérabilité.
(2) En outre, le projet met l’accent sur un type particulier de vulnérabilité: la solitude. Comment les personnes âgées, y compris les migrants, font-ils face à cette situation? Quel est le rôle des liens sociaux pour la surmonter?
(3) Le projet étudie l’impact de l’Etat providence du pays de destination sur la vulnérabilité des migrants dans la vieillesse et sur l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux pour la surmonter.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Cette étude comparera les personnes âgées et les migrants en Suisse à l’aide d’entretiens qualitatifs approfondis et d’analyses de données quantitatives. En outre, les migrants âgés en Suisse et au Luxembourg seront étudiés comparativement en s’appuyant également sur des entretiens qualitatifs approfondis. Ce projet se situe à l’intersection de plusieurs disciplines: études migratoires, gérontologie, sociologie et politique sociale. Il contribuera à la compréhension des stratégies mises en place afin de surmonter la vulnérabilité dans la vieillesse.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.01.2017

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Worldwide the ageing population is increasing. Recently there has been a raising awareness that some migrants are growing old in the host society where they came decades ago as workers and others migrate after retirement. Like other European countries, Switzerland experiments a rapid ageing of migrants. This makes the study of older adults of impending demographic and socio-economic importance.
Lay summary

Content and objectives of the research work

This Marie Heim-Vögtlin project compares older migrants and natives in Switzerland and older migrants in Switzerland and Luxembourg.

Doing this, the project tackles three objectives:

(1) It explores similarities and differences between older migrants and natives’ vulnerability. Too often, it is assumed that migrants are more vulnerable than natives. While the project does not aim to deny the situations of vulnerability among migrants, the goal is to explore how some can overcome vulnerability, and the reasons why others cannot.

(2) Further, the project focuses on a particular type of vulnerability, loneliness: how older persons, including migrants, cope with it, and particularly the role of social ties to overcome it.

(3) Finally, the project studies the impact of the welfare state at the destination on migrants’ vulnerability in old age, and the use of social networks to overcome it. For example, Switzerland’s liberal welfare state might make social networks in old age more important, while Luxembourg’s social democratic welfare state can make older persons less reliant on social networks.

Scientific and social context of the research project

This study will compare older natives and migrants in Switzerland using qualitative in-depth interviews, and quantitative data analysis. Further, there will be compared older migrants in Switzerland and in Luxembourg drawing on qualitative in-depth interviews. This project lies at the intersection of several disciplines: migration studies, gerontology, sociology and social policy. The project will contribute to the understanding of the strategies to overcome vulnerability in old age.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.01.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The role of super-diversity in shaping the perception of and services for older migrants
Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana (2019), The role of super-diversity in shaping the perception of and services for older migrants, in Journal of Aging Studies, 50, 1-8.
Ageing as a Migrant: Vulnerabilities, Agency and Policy Implications
Fokkema Tineke, Nedelcu Mihaela, Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana (ed.) (2019), Ageing as a Migrant: Vulnerabilities, Agency and Policy Implications, Routledge, Oxford.
Introduction - Ageing as a Migrant: Vulnerabilities, Agency and Policy Implications
Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana, Fokkema Tineke, Nedelcu Mihaela (2019), Introduction - Ageing as a Migrant: Vulnerabilities, Agency and Policy Implications, in Nedelcu Mihaela, Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana, Fokkema Tineke (ed.), Routledge, Oxford, 1-18.
The role of religion in protecting older Romanian migrants from loneliness
Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana, Fokkema Tineke, The role of religion in protecting older Romanian migrants from loneliness, in Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana, Nedelcu Mihaela, Fokkema Tineke (ed.), Routledge, Oxford, 36-54.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, University of Groningen, Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands (Europe)
- Publication
Bern University of Applied Sciences Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication
University of Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication
Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication
University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
XXe colloque international de l’Association Internationale des Démographes de Langue Française Talk given at a conference Les réseaux sociaux dans la vieillesse: le cas des migrants âgés en Suisse 28.08.2018 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
Research colloquium Individual talk Loneliness and older migrants 21.06.2018 Geneva, Switzerland Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
World Knowledge Dialogue “Interdisciplinarité en Action: Une Expérience Pratique de Recherche Interdisciplinaire”, meeting on "Migration" Individual talk Et quel devenir pour les migrants? / And what has become of migrants? 10.06.2018 Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
Welfare, Family and Ageing in the Age of Migration Talk given at a conference Diversity within diversity: otherness in Swiss institutions for old age 18.05.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
24th Nordic Congress of Gerontology Talk given at a conference What buffers older Romanians in Switzerland from loneliness? Past and present loneliness experiences 02.05.2018 Oslo, Norway Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
24th Nordic Congress of Gerontology Poster Social networks in old age: The case of older migrants in Switzerland 02.05.2018 Oslo, Norway Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress, GSA Interest Group: International Aging and Migration Talk given at a conference Which place for older migrants in local institutions in Switzerland? 23.07.2017 San Francisco, United States of America Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
IMISCOE Annual Conference Talk given at a conference Between exile and mobility: Contrasted logics and practices of transnationalism. The case of Romanian older migrants in Switzerland 28.06.2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;
Workshop “Vieillissement et mobilités géographiques. Famille, care et migrations” Talk given at a conference Social networks in old age: The case of older migrants in Switzerland 01.03.2017 Paris, France Ciobanu Ruxandra Oana;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
160590 NCCR LIVES: Overcoming vulnerability - life course perspectives (phase II) 01.01.2015 National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs)
179077 Transnational Ageing among Older Migrants and Natives: A Strategy to Overcome Vulnerability 01.03.2019 SNSF Professorships
129922 Old Age Democratization? Progresses and Inequalities in Switzerland 01.11.2010 Sinergia

Abstract

Worldwide the ageing population is increasing. Recently there has been a raising awareness that some migrants are growing old in the host society where they came decades ago as workers and others migrate after retirement. Like other European countries, Switzerland experiments a rapid ageing of migrants. Nonetheless, there is little comparative research looking at natives and migrants, and at migrants in different host countries.The demanded Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) project has two main objectives. Methodologically, it aims to fill in this gap in research by conducting two comparisons: between older migrants and natives in Switzerland and between older migrants in two destination countries: Switzerland and Luxembourg. Theoretically and empirically the goal is to challenge the existing literature that portrays older migrants as particularly vulnerable. While the project does not aim to deny the situations of vulnerability among migrants, the goal is to go deeper and by comparing migrants and natives, and older migrants in different countries explore how some can overcome vulnerability and others not. By doing this the project will advance the state-of-the-art research in ageing and migration studies.Employing qualitative and quantitative methods, the project’s expected results would be to understand:1.The reasons behind the similarities and differences between migrants and natives living in Switzerland in terms of vulnerability, and loneliness, as a particular form of vulnerability,2.The process through which some ageing persons in Switzerland overcome vulnerabilities and the reasons why others cannot,3.The impact of the context at the destination on the life course of older migrants in Switzerland and Luxembourg.Thus, the project outcomes would serve to expand the knowledge base of social gerontology capable to contribute to social policies and ultimately to the well-being of older adults.
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