9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Migration, Participation and Public Policy Building I, 2E9

The Swiss migrants' `Integration` agenda and the myth of a depoliticized education: Switzerland and its efforts to join the `European Space of Education`

Based on the perspective of Europe as an ongoing and continually constructed space of networks, flows and movements, this study examines the particular policy construction of migrant `integration` within the educational setting in Switzerland as a case-study on policy narratives. To pursue a newer Political Sociology approach of studying what has been called a `European shared space of Education`, a specific national context opens up new possibilities to explore processes of translation between collective (or the idea of a European `problem`) and more public or what is argued here are national`problems`, which could become institutionalised. Problematization and instrumentalisation of issues around migrant integration within a specific public policy sector, here education, become an interesting arena for exploring the negociation of policy agendas by looking at narratives of policy actors involved. This research morever looks at politicization and depoliticization of this policy `problem` perspective within the education arena and the vernacular or discourses that shape these amongst different networks of actors. What makes Switzerland an interesting case-study, is its political stance of being outside the legal capacity of the EU but nonetheless increasingly ( pressurized into?) participating in the notion of a European dimension to education and market. Questions arise about processes of an eventual European Integration and more interestingly what could arguably be the nationally self-fuelled generation of processes that lead up to it. This study is empirically based on views and experiences of Swiss policy makers in education, and other actors closely linked to migrant`Integration` policy in both Federal and Cantonal governmental and non-governmental organisations forming networks, as proposed in this study. On the one hand, the Swiss case of strong regional distinction, federalism and the re-contextualisation it creates using educational data could address what role education is taking in these processes of what can be argued is a highly political negotiation. On the other hand, questions arise about how integration policy measures are created, given that education is considered a potential sphere where integration of migrants within a national system is seen to take place, and about how a growing instrumentalization of education may potentially affect these measures.