Constructing ‘unteachability’ through menacing warnings

The coupling of welfare benefits and migration control in Switzerland

in Journal of Legal Anthropology
Author:
Luca Pfirter University of Neuchâtel luca.pfirter@unine.ch

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Abstract

This article scrutinises case files concerning the revocation of stay permits in Switzerland due to the receipt of social assistance. Through in-depth exploration of case files and Federal Supreme Court judgements, it provides insights into the increasing coupling of migration control and welfare instruments. The article does so by investigating one specific type of paperwork: ‘menaces of warnings of the revocation order due to the dependency on social assistance’. The article argues bureaucratic practices and the paperwork they produce must be investigated for their effects on foreign nationals and for the (re)production of politics of belonging and the ‘anti-citizen’. By individualising the reason for receiving social assistance, the analysed paperwork simultaneously aims at disciplining recipients of social assistance and legitimises exclusion by constructing ‘unteachability’ through ‘unsuccessful’ self-disciplining.

Contributor Notes

Luca Pfirter is a doctoral researcher at the Laboratoire d'Études des Processus Sociaux and at the National Centre of Competence in Research (nccr) – on the move at the University of Neuchâtel. He holds a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Neuchâtel and in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Email: luca.pfirter@unine.ch

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