Irregularity in the city of Zurich; Studying irregular migrant acts of citizenship
Project funded by own resources
Project title Irregularity in the city of Zurich; Studying irregular migrant acts of citizenship
Principal Investigator(s) Leimgruber, Walter
Project Members Wilopo, Claudia
Organisation / Research unit Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften / Kulturanthropologie (Leimgruber)
Project Website
Project start 01.08.2016
Probable end 31.07.2020
Status Completed

There are almost 800 asylum seekers in Zurich whose asylum request has been rejected and temporary residence permit revoked. They are therefore not authorized to remain in Switzerland (Kanton Zürich Sicherheitsdirektion Migrationsamt 2016). This limits their possibilities for political, social, and economic participation in society. Nevertheless, rejected asylum seekers engage in practices that challenge their exclusion from society. Defining these practices as, what Isin (2012) calls, acts of citizenship show rejected asylum seekers’ possibilities to contest their ‘irregular’ status while offering a debate for a more dynamic and inclusive approach to citizenship that is not limited to national membership, but can be deployed at various sites and scales. This PhD project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) focuses on acts of citizenship of rejected asylum seekers in the city of Zurich. It analyses how these acts can be seen as claims to what Hannah Arendt calls ‘right to have rights’ and challenge the notion of ‘irregularity’ and citizenship. Using participant observation, interviews and go-alongs this research aims to (1) examine ‘irregular’ migrants’ perception to their ‘irregular’ residence status, (2) study rejected asylum seekers’ practices as acts of citizenship and (3) develop new conceptualizations of the notion of ‘irregularity’ and citizenship. It seeks contribute to ongoing debates in the field of cultural anthropology, critical citizenship studies, urban geography and sociology.

Keywords irregularity, migration, asylum, (urban) citizenship, acts of citizenship, borders, Zurich
Financed by Other funds

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