Collaborative Research about Racial Profiling in Switzerland

Since May 2016 a group of eight social scientists, students and activists from Zürich, Bern and Basel has conducted 30 problem-centred interviews with people affected by racial profiling. The interviews were conducted with one or two members of the research collective in German, French or English. The aim was to document the diversity of experiences of a variety of people affected by racial profiling. The background of the study is the lack of systematic knowledge about the spectrum of experiences with racial profiling, the frequency of occurrence, and the impact on people affected by these police practices. Interviewees were found through the activist network of the Alliance against Racial Profiling, through a public appeal to different institutions and at events dealing with topics like migration, racism and xenophobia.

Interviewees consisted of a variety of different people who have experienced discriminatory police practices: Black people, People of Colour, Yenish, Sinti and Roma, Muslims, refugees, and migrants with different residence statuses—including sans-papiers (people with no legal residential status)—living in different places in Switzerland. Within this group of interviewees, individuals differ therefore in their nationalities, skin colours, gender, age, place of residence, religious affiliations, family situation, employment and income status, education, and mother tongue. Based on comparative analysis, the individual narratives of people affected were analysed through interpretation frames valid for several cases. Interviewees are informed about the use and dissemination of their interview data. Their personal details and the interview data are anonymized and, if desired, reviewed by the interviewees themselves.