Forschungsprojekte: Abstracts

  • Alumnibefragung ehemaliger Studierender

    Alumnibefragung ehemaliger Studierender des deutschsprachigen Teils des Studienbereichs Soziologie, Sozialpolitik und Sozialarbeit im Departement Sozialwissenschaften der Universität Fribourg

    Der Studienbereich Soziologie, Sozialpolitik und Sozialarbeit führt regelmässig eine Befragung ehemaliger Studierender durch um zu eruieren, welchen Nutzen die Alumni aus dem Studium ziehen konnten und wie ihr berufliches Fortkommen ist. Der Studienbereich möchte durch diese Informationen überprüfen, inwiefern die angebotenen Studiengänge auf lange Sicht die Anforderungen der Alumni erfüllen. Alle ehemaligen Studierenden werden mittels eines Onlinefragebogens befragt. Die Alumni werden per Email gebeten, an der Befragung teilzunehmen. Das in diesem Projekt angewandte Instrument und die Ergebnisse können genutzt werden, um die Qualität des Studiums zu verbessern und deutlicher aufzuzeigen, welche Stärken und Schwächen innerhalb der Studienprogramme vorliegen. Es ist uns wichtig, die Sicht der ehemaligen Studierenden auf das Studienprogramm zu erheben. 

    Förderung: Eigenmittel
    ProjektmitarbeiterInnen: Sebastian Schief (sebastian.schief (at) (Leitung), Monica Budowski, Christoph Tschanz
    Ehemalige MitarbeiterInnen: Lena Liechti
    Laufzeit: Seit 2010

  • Becoming a Collective Actor: Collective Identities of Contemporary Informal Women's Groups in the Post-Yugoslav Space


    Becoming a Collective Actor: Collective Identities of Contemporary Informal Women’s Groups in the Post-Yugoslav SpaceA Contribution to a Reassessment of Contemporary Post-Yugoslav Civil Society from a feminist perspective.


    Civil societies in the post-socialist space have been the subject of much academic debate. For more than two decades, the majority of scholars agreed that post-socialist countries had weak civil societies, due to low levels of civic activism. Current empirical research attempts to revise this image, by focusing on new forms of self-organizations within post-socialist civil societies. Whereby recent forms of contemporary women's self-organization have received little attention so far, and this even though women have become a constitutive part of post-socialist civil societies over the years.

    Thus, in contrast to the existing literature, this PhD project focuses on contemporary post-Yugoslav informal women’s groups advocating for gender equality, as one example of contemporary women's self-organization. It is based on the following research question: Whether and how do contemporary informal women's groups advocating for gender equality represent a collective actor within post-Yugoslav civil society?

    The post-Yugoslav space is of particular interest because, unlike the other post-socialist countries, former Yugoslavia has a rich history of women's self-organization and developed already in the 1970s an explicitly feminist positioning. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, women from different backgrounds continued to advocate for gender equality and continue today. The research question will be approached with reference to the theoretical concept of collective identity, and critical approaches such as Orientalism, Balkanism  and feminist postcolonial thoughts. A combination of Grounded Theory and Ethnography is considered to be the most appropriate methodology.

    Informed by these methodological considerations, the research question will be investigated by qualitative research process composed by participant observations, semi-structured in-depth interviews, and document analysis. Therefore, this PhD project aims to contribute to a reassessment of contemporary post-Yugoslav civil societies from a feminist perspective, to provide a detailed picture of a recent form of women's self-organization for gender equality and to offer useful insights for general theory building about the process of becoming a collective actor within contemporary civil societies. Hence, this PhD project contributes to a broader international research field at the intersection of women’s and civil society studies, which still mainly tend to overlook the specificity of the Eastern European position and post-socialist conditions.

    Key Words

    Civil Society, Feminist activism, Collective Identity, post-Yugoslav space

    Funding Source: Internally funded

    Project Leader: Laura Meier
    Duration: Since 2021

  • Comparative perspectives on precarity and household strategies

    Within the fields of social inequalities and poverty research, recent empirical research highlights the need to approach a socioeconomic category often overlooked: the households in “precarious prosperity” that struggle to maintain a certain level of socioeconomic prosperity, while being aware of the limits of their opportunities and choices. This overlooked socioeconomic category has been termed “precarious prosperity”: it is a structural position within the social inequality order, located between poverty and secure material prosperity in terms of material wellbeing. Households and individuals within this socioeconomic category may be empirically identified by means of household income and standard of living. Such socioeconomic positions are often accompanied by experienced or perceived insecurity to maintain or improve them and the structural ability to plan the future. We term this combination of material wellbeing and insecurity over time as  “precarity”.
    The studies presented here address the topic of precarity in different countries and provide new insights about this socioeconomic category. They also present longitudinal qualitative and comparative information on how individuals and households living in precarious prosperity experience, manage and conduct their lives, what their living conditions and their (household) strategies of households are.


    • A Comparative Perspective on Household Strategies in Conditions of Precarious Prosperity in Chile, Costa Rica, Spain and Switzerland
    • A Comparative Perspective on Precarious Prosperity and Household Strategies in Romania and Switzerland in Times of Economic Strain

    Prof. Dr. Monica Budowski (CH) 
    Dr. Iuliana Precupetu (RO) 
    Dr. Ana Maria Preoteasa (RO)
    MA Rebekka Sieber (CH) 
    Prof. Dr. Christian Suter (CH)
    Dr. Ionela Vlase (RO) 

    Previous Members
    Dr. Michèle Amacker (CH) 
    MA Maurizio Coppola (CH)
    MA Jacqueline Kalbermatter (CH)
    Dr. Wiebke Keim (CH)
    Dr. Daniel Vera (CH)

  • Employment and Social Differences in the Health Sector: An Institutional Perspective on a Swiss Hospital


    The health care labour market is highly structured along categories of difference, such as formal qualification, migration experience, gender or age. Research has pointed out that these differences are often used in a discriminatory way (Kofman & Raghuram 2009). Most studies have taken either a micro perspective (work biographies of individuals) or a macro perspective (legal and structural frame). Research that analyses the meso-level of the employing institutions is scarce and, in addition, often lacks a sound conceptualisation of inequality. We therefore propose a project that combines two heuristic perspectives: institutional ethnography (IE), as a means of understanding the institutional logic and ruling relations in hospitals (Smith 1987; 2005), and multilevel intersectional research (Winker & Degele 2009), used to unveil social inequality and discrimination. The project aims to further our understanding of these institutional logics by conducting research in a Swiss hospital, and by contextualizing the institutional logics in the national and international frameworks of legal rules and established practices of labour migration and employment.

    This leads to the following research question: How do hospitals in a field of highly structured levels of formal qualifications and under the pressure of neoliberal restructuring handle their personnel policies? On the one hand, we focus on the context of the hospitals’ policies: the national frameworks that regulate labour and migration and the stakeholders that influence labour arrangements in hospitals. On the other hand, we look inside the hospital and inquire about the institutional logics that shape personnel policies. It is important to analyse the practices and structures in terms of ruling relations, i.e. the complex of relations that organize the social practice such as work in contemporary societies (Smith 1990a). This perspective is then further combined with an intersectional lens to understand how personnel policies are structured by categories of difference such as gender, migration, nationality/ethnicity, age and qualifications.

    To answer these questions, we will follow two perspectives of data collection: outside the hospital we will collect documents (for instance legal texts). Inside the hospital, we will conduct an Institutional Ethnography (IE) that involves collecting documents, as well as conducting observation and semi-structured interviews.

    The study seeks to contribute to the field of research on social inequality and discrimination in the labour market using an institutional perspective. Combining the research strategies of IE and multilevel intersectionality constitutes a novel approach to these questions. By structuring our research in this way, we hope to enrich the debate theoretically and methodologically. For practitioners, the results will have implications for equal rights policies and will address questions related to personnel shortages.


    Key Words

    Labour market; social differences; intersectionality; personnel policies; health care sector


    Funding Source: Stiftung Homo Liberalis


    Applicants: PD Dr. Marina Richter (University of Fribourg)

    Project Leaders: PD Dr. Marina Richter, Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme (University of Bern)

    Collaborator: Dr. Carole Ammann

    Duration: 2018-2019

  • Evaluationsforschung «Evaluation Electronic Monitoring»

    Evaluationsforschung „Evaluation Electronic Monitoring“

    Das Projekt begleitet und evaluiert die Einführung von Electronic Monitoring in verschiedenen Anwendungsfeldern des Straf- und Justizvollzugs im Kanton Zürich. Dabei werden die Perspektiven verschiedener involvierter Akteure (Institutionen wie auch Personen) erhoben. Die Erhebungen kombinieren qualitative und quantitative Instrumente (mixed-methods).

    Auftraggeber: Amt für Justizvollzug, Kanton Zürich
    Projektleitung: Marina Richter, Ueli Hostettler
    Forschende: Barbara Ryser
    Laufzeit: 01.11.2016 - 31.10.2019

  • Female and male youth’s experiences of violence in domestic networks: gendered interpretation and associated options for agency


    Female and male youth’s experiences of violence in domestic networks: gendered interpretation and associated options for agency


    Domestic violence and violence within the domestic sphere is regarded as a major social problem. Many studies disclose the wide range of negative effects of domestic violence on the victims regarding their health and their social situation. The causes of violence are manifold. They are located on all levels of society: in the personal history, the microsystem, the exo- and macrosystem.

    In contrast to the huge body of research on domestic violence, studies on young people’s experiences of violence in the domestic sphere and possible differences due to gender are scant and fragmented.

    This project thus focuses on female and male youth that live in violence-prone domestic networks in Switzerland. We concentrate on youth who are witness, victim and/or perpetrator of violence in their households of origin. We want to understand the youth’s opportunities and modalities to deal with violence within the domestic sphere. We assume that within the domestic networks ‘social logics’ of dealing with violence exist and that they are gendered. Our aim is to detect such network-intrinsic gendered logics by revealing and understanding the female and male youth’s interpretation of violence and their thereof perceived options of agency.

    Our research questions are:
    - How is violence in domestic networks interpreted, and to what extent and how does this interpretation structure the female and male youth’s options for agency?
    - What are the gendered network-intrinsic logics of dealing with violence in the domestic sphere and what options for agency for youth result there from?

    Qualitative ego-centered social network analysis and thematic interviews with 20 male and female youth between 16 and 25 years of age serve as an empirical basis for this research project.

    The project aims to reduce research gaps and to scientifically generate knowledge about possible logics and contextual aspects of dealing with violence. From a practical perspective, it will provide useful information to conceptualize and/or improve legal regulations as well as to device interventions to support youth to avoid or reduce the effects of experiences of violence in their households of origin.

    Key Words

    Violence in the domestic sphere, youth, gender, qualitative social network analysis

    Funding Source: Stiftung Homo Liberalis

    Applicants: Dr. Anne Kersten und Prof. Dr. Monica Budowski
    Project Leader: Dr. Anne Kersten
    Duration: Since 2019

  • Gender, Return Migration and Reintegration in the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal


    Gender, Return Migration and Reintegration in the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal


    How does gender shape return mobilities and reintegration, and how do patterns of return mobilities and reintegration impact upon gender in the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal?

    Since the peak of the ‘refugee crises’ in 2015, more restrictive migration policies have been implemented across Europe, including measures of increased deportation and repatriation. As a result, International Organisations, European state development agencies, and NGOs have expanded their engagement in return-led schemes, such as in ‘assisted voluntary return programmes’. Moreover, return migration has also become a prominent subject of the global development agenda, where it has become a priority area of migration–development policies.

    It is against this background of the return migration context, that we situate our research. We intend to deconstruct the international return policy discourse by introducing the migrants’ subjective experiences on their return and reintegration processes. While gendered analysis has become more integral in migration studies, it is by far less existent in post-return reintegration. Thus, the overall aim of this project is to understand how gender shapes the reintegration process of migrants, and viceversa, how patterns of return mobilities and reintegration impact upon gender in the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal. Thereby, we focus on three groups of returnees: 1) migrants seeking institutional support before returning to Gambia, Guinea or Senegal, 2) returnees only seeking support after arrival, and 3) returnees seeking no support.

    The study is based on a multi-sited ethnography, using a variety of fieldwork methods. Given that both gender and return are subject to complex temporal dynamics, the project is partly designed as a longitudinal study. In order to investigate the full scope of the interlinkages between reintegration and gender as well as the support mechanisms addressed to returnees, we opt for a pluri-disciplinary approach that involves social anthropology, development studies, human geography, sociology, and social work. The expected project results will enable a wide range of users - governments, IOs/NGOs, among others - to obtain knowledge on gender aspects inherent to return and reintegration processes in the countries under study, so as to optimise their return infrastructure.



    CHF 320'000 by Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) .


    Gender, Return Migration and Reintegration in the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal


    Eveline Odermatt (Coordinator) University of Fribourg, Luzia Jurt (Co-Coordinator) Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW

    University Julius Nyerere, Kankan (Guinea Conakry);

    University Assane Seck, Ziguinchor (Senegal);

    International Organisation for Migration - IOM (Senegal)

    Duration: 2020 - 2023

  • Kundenumfragen für die Schweizerische Multiple-Sklerose-Gesellschaft (SMSG)


    Der Studienbereich Soziologie, Sozialpolitik und Sozialarbeit der Universität Fribourg, vertreten durch Dr. Sebastian Schief, wurde von der Schweizerischen Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft beauftragt, die Konzeption, Durchführung und Auswertung von Kundenumfragen zu übernehmen. Die Schweizerische Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft ist eine Non-Profit-Organisation in der Geschäftsform eines Vereins. Die Gesellschaft arbeitet schweizweit in allen Landessprachen. Die MS-Gesellschaft ist gegenüber dem Bundesamt für Sozialversicherungen rechenschaftspflichtig und hat das mit einem Finanzbeitrag verbundene Leistungspaket jährlich nachzuweisen. Teil dieses Nachweises ist es, die Qualität der Leistungen mittels Kundenumfragen zu bestätigen. Bis jetzt wurden die Kundenbefragungen intern erstellt, durchgeführt und ausgewertet. Ziel ist eine Überarbeitung resp. Neukonzeption der Erhebungsinstrumente, die Durchführung der Erhebung, eine Eingabe und Analyse der erhobenen Daten (deskriptiv oder inferenzstatistisch) sowie eine Berichterstellung und visuelle Darstellung der Berichtsergebnisse. Die Kundenumfragen betreffen die Qualität von vier Dienstleistungsbereichen: Beratungen, Freiwilligenarbeit, Veranstaltungen, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit.

    Förderung: Schweizerischerische Multiple-Sklerose-Gesellschaft (SMSG)
    ProjektmitarbeiterInnen: Sebastian Schief (Leitung), Thomas Fasel (Mitarbeiter), Marc Wittwer (Mitarbeiter)
    Laufzeit: seit September 2014

  • PIONEERED - Pioneering policies and practices tackling educational inequalities in Europe


    PIONEERED - Pioneering policies and practices tackling educational inequalities in Europe


    A key objective of the Horizon 2020 framework programme ‘Europe in a changing world’ is to ensure children from vulnerable groups enjoy access to education and reduce educational inequalities. The EU-funded PIONEERED project will specify research-informed policy standards and identify innovative policies and practices to reduce inequalities in accessing education. The project will identify emerging and existing sources of educational inequalities from early childhood to tertiary education, design pioneering policies and practices of reaction, incorporate the findings, and determine the most adaptable instruments and innovative policies to apply across EU Member States. PIONEERED will analyse national policies addressing inequalities, analyse new and existing relevant data, and conduct research in schools and informal education centres.


    Keywords: educational inequalities, social policy, educational policy, Europe

    Funding Source: H2020 scheme of the European Commission

    Applicants: Prof. Dr. Andreas Hadjar and PIONEERED consortium
    Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Andreas Hadjar
    Duration: 2021-2024


    UNIVERSITÄT BERN, Switzerland












    Website: PIONEERED - Pioneering policies and practices tackling educational inequalities in Europe | PIONEERED (