Luisa Genovese


Luisa received her master’s degree (thesis on Hannah Arendt's concept of judgement) in culture studies with focus on gender theories and Italian at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Later on, she was trained as a pre-primary and primary teacher at the Pädagogische Hochschule Bern. As part of the program she engaged in a co-operation project with the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín (Colombia) on Global Learning in which she still is involved. She is interested in the disciplining dynamics of school as an institution especially viewed in the context of migration, as well as on (educational, formal and non-formal) concepts of knowledge production reflected through the lens of postcolonial theories.

In her last engagement as a teacher she taught a class of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers and refugees in the Canton of Berne.

Her current PhD project proposes to investigate the decision-making processes former unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum seekers undergo in their transitions from post-obligatory educational, so called bridging structures (BPI) into vocational training or other educational opportunities in a Swiss Canton.

The so-called BPI classes focus on language and "integration": with the aim to enroll the students into vocational training by the end of 1 to 2 years of schooling these classes are open to youth aged between 15-25 who recently migrated to Switzerland, refugee and asylum-seeking youth holding the biggest share of the students. The educational situation of mobile youth turns out to be extremely difficult and precarious not only due to their uncertain residence permit/status; while western educational structures are adjusted to youth in possession of an educational biography according to normative standards, practices of institutional discrimination, cultural decapitalization, and different referential systems may lead to discouragement among socioeconomically disadvantaged youth.

The nexus between social status and educational opportunities has been broadly researched for youth with migration background; respective to the worldwide increasing group of mobile youth having different educational biographies a gap in research prevails. Thus, according to first findings, the processes of vocational choices, into which besides the youth themselves also teachers, caregivers or legal assistants are involved, show different colliding interests. In reference to an increasinglymobile society mobile youth (at risk) represent an exemplary focus group: Disposing agency and vulnerabilityat the same time, their choices of occupation display new opportunity structures as well as structural constraints - as there are for the labor market for instance - and shed a new light on educational processes and pathways in terms of transnationalisedfields.

The PhD-project plans to follow mobile youth of a BPI-class in the Canton of Berne. Along with participatory observation mostly during classes in vocational orientation a number of key persons will be followed also outside the educational structures. Narrative interviews (with mobile youth attending the class in question), as well as semi-structured interviews with involved actors (teachers, social workers and assistants) will complementarily be conducted. The present ethnographic project hopes to gain deeper insights about the youths' as well as the teacher's (or other involved actors') visions, structural constraints and different referential systems underlying the decisions leading to a choice of occupation.

Afilliations représentatives

  • Assistant at the Institut für Forschung, Entwicklung und Evaluation at the Pädagogische Hochschule Bern
  • Member of the Swiss Anthropological Association (SEG-SSE)


Intérêts de recherche

  • Migration and mobility studies
  • Education