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Institute of Education

After Coming to Switzerland – What Now? On the Individuation and Integration of Adolescents and Young Adults with a Forced Migration Background

Integration courses for adolescents and young adults with a forced migration background that have been in Switzerland only for a few years and cannot be schooled within the course of compulsory education constitute a setting in which adolescents and young adults are addressed explicitly as “not (yet) integrated” and thereby as “not (yet) belonging.” These courses do not only aim at learning the language of the host country but also at social integration. In order to analyze the relationally constructed relation between “us” and “the others” from the perspective of the “not (yet) integrated,” the experiences of the course participants are illuminating as a consequence. On the one hand, the focus of the thesis lies on the question how the adolescents and young adults that participate in the course deal with the (integration) requirements brought to their attention (during the courses). On the other hand, the focus lies on the question how they realize their lives in Switzerland on the basis of these experiences. How processes of individuation and integration are shaped is of interest in this context.  
The collection of data takes place in two contrastive course settings that encompass apart from participant observations also theme-centered interviews with adolescents and young adults. In order to be able to analyze attributions of otherness as relational processes, a depth-hermeneutical analysis is carried out. Apart from the analysis of the manifest meaning of the observation protocols and interviews, the question can be addressed of how subjective transference and defense reactions correspond with (institutional) demands, social contradictions, and cultural taboos based on such an analytical orientation.
This study wants to make visible and analyze the perspectives and experiences of adolescents and young adults with a forced migration background. By means of a comprehensive empirical study it is possible to focus on the heterogeneity of experiences. Previous studies on such integration courses in Switzerland have shown that the participants are exposed to, among other things, being stereotyped in regard to their gender and ethnicity. This study wants to contribute to a differentiated approach and a better understanding concerning adolescents and young adults with a forced migration background and their individuation and integration processes.