Luca Pfirter

Luca received his PhD in 2023 at the Laboratoire d'études des processus sociaux (LAPS, Neuchâtel) and the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) – on the move at the University of Neuchâtel after having completed  masters' degrees in Anthropology (University of Neuchâtel) and in Development Studies (IHEID, Geneva). Luca spent time in Colombia and Argentina, and worked for the Swiss Observatory for Asylum and Foreign Nationals Law (SBAA, Bern). Currently Luca works as a lecturer at the University of Neuchâtel.

Luca's thesis Doubting the national order of Poverty - the moral administration of 'poor others' in Swiss welfare and migration bureaucracies consists of ethnographic research in public administrations with a curiosity for how contradictions and doubts may apprear in everyday bureaucratic life. Luca's main interests thereby concern: contemporary forms of governing doubts in upholding hierarchies and differenciations between humans; how this is conditioned by the morality of state power and facilitates the stabilization of the “banality” and “evil” of the national order of poverty; as well as elaborating connected processes of b/ordering.


List of Publications


Pfirter, L. (2023): Doubting the national order of Poverty. The Moral administration of 'poor others' in Swiss welfare and migration bureaucracies. Neuchâtel: University of Neuchâtel. https://doi.org/10.35662/unine-these-3040


Peer reviewed articles:

Pfirter, L. (2019): Constructing ‘unteachability’ through menacing warnings: The coupling of welfare benefits and migration control in Switzerland, Journal of Legal Anthropology, 3(2): 29-49. https://doi.org/10.3167/jla.2019.030203

Borrelli, L.M., S. Kurt, C. Achermann and L. Pfirter (2021): (Un)Conditional Welfare? Tensions Between Welfare Rights and Migration Control in Swiss Case Law, Swiss Journal of Sociology, 47(1): 93-114. https://doi.org/10.2478/sjs-2021-0008

Achermann, C., L.M. Borrelli and L. Pfirter (2023): “For just decisions we need you!”: Relational decision-making and the bureaucratic exclusion of “poor others”, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 46(2): 177–190https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12542 


Book Chapters:

Pfirter, L., L.M. Borrelli, D. Ruedin and S. Kurt (2021): Citizenship models and migrant integration – Rethinking the intersection of citizenship and migrant integration through (b)ordering. in: Handbook of Citizenship and Migration, edited by Giugni, M. and M.T. Grasso, 52-65. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781789903133.00010



Borrelli, L.M., Kurt, S., Achermann, C. und Pfirter, L. (2021): Armut ist kein Verbrechen – (Un)bedingte Wohlfahrt in der Schweizer Rechtsprechung. «décodage» – Blog der Schweizerischen Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (SAGW): https://sagw.ch/sagw/aktuell/blog/details/news/armut-ist-kein-verbrechen-unbedingte- wohlfahrt-in-der-schweizer-rechtsprechung/

Achermann, C., Borrelli, L. M., Kurt, S., Niragire Nirere, D. and Pfirter, L. (2021): Die zunehmende Verschränkung von Migrationskontrolle und Sozialhilfe. Solidarité sans frontières: https://www.sosf.ch/de/themen/migrationspolitik/informationen-artikel/die-zunehmende-verschraenkung-von- migrationskontrolle-und-sozialhilfe.html

Achermann, C., Borrelli, L. M., Kurt, S., Niragire Nirere, D. and Pfirter, L. (2021): L’ intrication croissante du contrôle des migrations et de l’aide sociale. Solidarité sans frontières: https://www.sosf.ch/fr/sujets/politique- migratoire/informations-articles/die-zunehmende-verschraenkung-von-migrationskontrolle-und-sozialhilfe.html

Achermann, C., Pfirter, L., Kurt S. and Borrelli, L. M. (2020). The Making of Social Cohesion: A Critique of Migration Law and Practices in Switzerland. National Center of Competence in Research – The Migration-Mobility Nexus Blog: https://blog.nccr-onthemove.ch/the-making-of-social-cohesion-a-critique-of-migration-law-and-practices- in-switzerland/?lang=de

Kurt S., Achermann, C., Borrelli, L. M. and Pfirter, L. (2020). Zuwanderungs- und Aufenthaltssteuerung via Sozialhilfe? National Center of Competence in Research – The Migration-Mobility Nexus Blog. Available at: https://blog.nccr-onthemove.ch/zuwanderungs-und-aufenthaltssteuerung-via-sozialhilfe/?lang=de



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