Older Immigrants Living in Switzerland and Forms of Ambivalence Around the Retirement Period

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Claudio BOLZMAN , Uni Applied Science Western Switzerland, Geneva, Switzerland
The sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad (1991; 1999) has defined ambivalence as part of the immigrant condition.  According to him, since most of international migrants are not considered as full citizens in host States neither in home States, their situation tend to be ambivalent on many dimensions.  For instance, they expect to come back once to their home country, but they also know that their economic, social and familial conditions make this option highly improbable.  Thus, they tend to postpone this issue for a later period of their lives.   When they retire however, the question of return can arise again.  Thus, it can be argued, retirement may represent for immigrants not only a social transition, from work to retirement, but also a possible spatial transition, from living in one country to settlement in another country. In that sense, it can be considered as a double change in life course that can generate new dilemmas and ambivalences in couples and families. This paper explores how older immigrants from different origins (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Africa, Kosovo) and living in Switzerland perceive this ambivalence and how do they deal with it.  Analysis is based in data from a quantitative survey carried in 2011 (immigrants from the 3 EU countries) and from qualitative interviews (immigrants from all origins) carried in 2012 and 2013.  Main trends and differences between older immigrants groups are presented and discussed.