GENUS – Generational Shifts


Generational Shifts – Italian migrants in Switzerland after WWII

When Italians started to migrate to Switzerland after the end of World War II, they were the largest community of migrants in the Swiss Confederation. They largely contributed to the prosperity of Switzerland, but always as external help and hence never really integrated into Swiss society. By the end of the 1970’s, though, the protests of Italian migrants about their working conditions and rights brought Switzerland to change this unequal relationship. Italians started to become part of the Swiss community. At the beginning of the 21st century, though, Italians started again to migrate to the Swiss Confederation. According to official data of the Swiss Confederation from December 2015, the Italian migrants represent still today the biggest community of foreigners permanently resident in Switzerland, nearly 4% of the Swiss population.

The aim of this photographic-based research is to explore the identity of Italians that migrated in the 1960’s, their second generation and the recent migrants of the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to the photographic portraits, the project will also come in the form of qualitative research with semi-structured interviews in an attempt to add extra information to each subject’s individual story as well as the similarities in their experiences. While their status as migrants and being the second generation of migrants will probably be similar for each group (e.g. being far from home in a foreign country), each individual will probably show different aspects coming from a variety of experiences, education and work environment. There will probably be similar feelings of displacement, unresolved grief, and transitional issues very common to the four groups with differentiations for the more recent migrants. The project is related to the French-speaking area of Switzerland and one chapter of the final work will be dedicated to the case of the city of Carouge (Geneva).

Ten portraits of this project have been exhibited at the Milan EXPO 2015

This work is a PhD research at the University of Westminster (UK)

Organisations promoting the project:

Webster University in Geneva (

Webster University Geneva is a non-profit, American-Accredited University established in 1915 with campuses in Europe, USA & Asia. Webster University Geneva, located at 15 Rue de Collex, 1293 Bellevue, Switzerland, embodies the concept of an international education. This goal become reality as 600 students from over 90 countries come together as a community of learners engaged by faculty representing 25 nations.

Webster University Geneva Media Department commits itself to being engaged in projects that benefit the community.Horizontal Geneva Logo 2014 - White Background

“Cultura Italia sans frontierès” ( is a not-for-profit association promoting the Italian culture in Geneva since 2005. Cultura Italia organizes and promotes cultural activities pursuing a integration among Italian and other cultures. Activities include Cine Club, Theatre, Conferences, Book club, Gastronomy or simple gatherings.logo_ufficiale_JPEGEndorsement:

– Italian Consulate in Geneva (;

– Ville de Genève – Agenda 21 ( de Genève

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