Migrant Families in Child Protection Hearings in Switzerland

Between Universalism and Psychologization

Keywords: migrant families, sociocultural difference, child protection, hearings


The encounter between law and socio-cultural diversity, which is increasingly present in our globalised societies, regularly leads to public debates and questioning of judicial practices. However, despite the significant amount of research on the rights of migrant people, the management of this socio-cultural diversity in child protection proceedings in Switzerland remains an issue that is hardly conceptualised. Thus, based on an analysis of eight hearing observations carried out in two Child and Adult Protection Authorities (CAPA) in French-speaking Switzerland, we highlight that there is a certain difficulty in integrating socio-cultural differences in the exchanges between professionals and migrant families. This is in particular due to a strong psychologisation of families’ behaviour and the adoption of a universalist approach to culture by the CAPA’s members.

Author Biographies

Aude Saugy, University of Geneva

Aude Saugy is currently working as a research assistant at the University of Geneva. She studied special education and social pedagogy before specialising in the field of children's rights. She is particularly interested in the themes of child protection and migration, and in particular in the meeting between families, children and professionals in these two fields.

Gaëlle Aeby, University of Geneva

Gaëlle Aeby has a PhD in Social Sciences and works as a research associate at the University of Geneva, Her field of specialisation includes: socio-anthropology of family, youth and transition to adulthood, child protection and foster care, life cours and family breakdowns, personal networks.

How to Cite
Saugy, Aude, and Gaëlle Aeby. 2021. “Migrant Families in Child Protection Hearings in Switzerland: Between Universalism and Psychologization”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 26 (June):195-202. https://doi.org/10.36950/tsantsa.2021.26.6993.