Doctoral thesis

Governing the poor in Switzerland: Young adults dealing with ambiguous cantonal social policies

Number of pages251
Imprimatur date2022-08-24
Defense date2022-06-20

The present research deals with the policies directed at young adults on social assistance without vocational training (YAS) and the way their implementation is perceived by implementers as well as by YAS themselves. Drawing on collected data within cantonal administrations and providers of integration (Basel-City and Geneva) as well as interviews with YAS, the thesis analysis socio-political alignment of cantonal social policies and their moral underpinnings. In Switzerland, there is currently an ongoing strategical shift in the policy field of youth policies with a renewed emphasis on educational integration as a first and primary integration step. This policy shift has implications for the strategical scope of the cantonal administration. The renewed emphasis on ‘education first’ as a guideline dictates an approach, which follows an intertwined neo-liberal and paternalistic discourse: On the one hand, social policies are programmatically designed as investment in order to avoid a long-term labour market exclusion of the YAS. On the other hand, these policies are legitimized via narratives that construct the YAS as irresponsible and dependent-not yet ready to enter adulthood. In doing so, social policies create and reproduce structural vulnerabilities related to dominant moral values like reinforcing the work ethics of young welfare beneficiaries.

  • Social policy
  • Young adults
  • Social assistance
  • Vulnerability
  • Work ethics
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
BOCHSLER, Yann David. Governing the poor in Switzerland: Young adults dealing with ambiguous cantonal social policies. 2022. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:163434
Main files (2)
accessLevelPrivateaccessLevelPublic 11/21/2025

Technical informations

Creation07/06/2022 3:51:00 PM
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Update time05/15/2023 12:43:43 PM
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