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.