Multi-Lingual but Mono-National: Exploring and Explaining Switzerland's Exceptionalism

FEDERALISM, PLURINATIONALITY, AND DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTIONLISM - THEORY AND CASES, Miquel Caminal and Ferran Requejo, eds., Abingdon, Routledge, 2011

32 Pages Posted: 22 May 2009 Last revised: 18 Aug 2011

Date Written: July 25, 2011

Abstract

This chapter explores how statehood and patterns of collective identity have historically evolved in Switzerland and how they are interacting in the contemporary Swiss system. It shows that a sense of Swiss nationhood emerged before the creation of a Swiss federal state in 1848 and that it survived the pressures of 'linguistic nationalism' in the latter part of the 'long' XIX century to become fully consolidated in the XX century. While many features of the Swiss system today reflect the multi-lingual nature of its society, they also show rather clearly that Switzerland is not a multi-national federation. Subsequently, the chapter offers an explanation of why Switzerland, despite being multi-lingual and multi-cultural, has not become multinational, by arguing that this is best explained by a complex interaction over a long period of time of a unique set of factors, both internal and external. The chapter then considers the challenges likely to face the Swiss system in the mid-term and concludes by arguing that the characteristics of Swiss society and the strengths of its federal political architecture will likely enable it to remain mono-national in the foreseeable future.

Keywords: Nationalism, Federalism, Federation, State, Democracy, Switzerland, Identity, Multinational, Multilingual

Suggested Citation

Dardanelli, Paolo, Multi-Lingual but Mono-National: Exploring and Explaining Switzerland's Exceptionalism (July 25, 2011). FEDERALISM, PLURINATIONALITY, AND DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTIONLISM - THEORY AND CASES, Miquel Caminal and Ferran Requejo, eds., Abingdon, Routledge, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1408549

Paolo Dardanelli (Contact Author)

University of Kent ( email )

University of Kent
Canterbury, CT2 7NX
United Kingdom
441227827417 (Phone)
441227827033 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://dardanelli.net

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
294
rank
97,070
Abstract Views
1,450
PlumX Metrics