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View Full Version : How Do Consociationalism and the Multi-Ethnic Model Work in Switzerland?



Richard
Wednesday, September 19th, 2007, 07:18 AM
Would I be correct in assuming that this Deutschland subforum is meant to include topics related to lands such as Austria, Switzerland, etc. in which the majority speak a form of German? Does Switzerland have many of problems between the German speakers and other groups that form a significant percentage, such as French, Italians, and Romansh speakers? It's a wonder that Switzerland has held together for so long with this diverse combination of languages.

Janus
Wednesday, September 19th, 2007, 11:23 AM
Actually there is not much multiculturality in Switzerland because of several reasons. First of all the ethnicities are much more similar to eachother than proper German, French and Italian people but furthermore they're kind of sagregated from eachother and all live in their own areas which is very much possible because most decisions are made on cantonal or even communal level overthere and not on national one. Eventually Switzerland symbolises not multiculturalism but peacefully living side by side.

Nachtengel
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 07:56 AM
http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/atlasch_540.jpg

Safe, neutral, boring Switzerland is a strangely fertile source of curious cartography. Previously, this blog has zoomed in on wartime contingency plans for a Schweizer réduit (#109 (http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/05/07/109-the-schweizer-reduit-hard-core-switzerland/)), Jules Verne’s fictional New Switzerland (#133 (http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/133-new-switzerland-%e2%80%93-finally-in-need-of-a-navy/)), the Swiss/German enclave of Büsingen am Hochrhein (#235 (http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/253-germany-surrounded-by-switzerland/)) and the geo-culinary phenomenon of the Röstigraben (#257 (http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/257-switzerlands-rostigraben-a-curious-culinary-and-cultural-fault-line/)).
That last post touches upon the fact that the different language communities within Switzerland also have distinct political mentalities – the French-Swiss supposedly having a more pro-European outlook, and the German-Swiss apparently less likely to support a stronger federal government. This map expands that little scrap of Swiss political geography into a full-blown cartogram of regional political mentalities in Switzerland.
A cartogram being a map morphed by non-geographic data, there is very little left of Switzerland’s familiar shape to recognise here. The confederation’s centuries-old cartographic persona is transformed by two axes, from liberal to conservative (north-south) and from left-wing to right-wing (east-west). The colours denote the country’s main language areas: German (green), French (red) and Italian (yellow)*. Higher altitude lines correspond with higher population density.
This Switzerland of regional political mentalities is an island that serendipitously looks like Verne’s aforementioned New Switzerland. It is also reminiscent of the Inglehart-Weltzel cultural map of the world (#127 (http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/127-the-inglehart-welzel-cultural-map-of-the-world/)), which similarly rearranges the world’s countries along two axes of cultural values.
The French-Swiss area generally is more liberal and left-wing than the rest of Switzerland, but with significant internal diversity. The municipality of Collonge-Bellerive is among the most liberal in Switzerland, but is rather more right-wing than Geneva (marked in German as Genf) and Lausanne, the largest cities of la Suisse romande (French-Switzerland). And Delémont apparently is the hotbed par excellence of socialist agitation in Switzerland. Italian-Switzerland is equally left-wing, but not quite so liberal as the French-Swiss.
If one draws a line from the map’s “southwestern” to its “northeastern” corner, one notices that Deutschschweiz (German-Switzerland) takes up the entire conservative/right-wing half of the island. The only German-speaking areas outside of this half are the urban centres of Basel, Zürich, Bern, Luzern** and Sankt-Gallen. These are more liberal and left-wing than the rest of German-speaking Switzerland, but still more conservative and right-wing than French-speaking Switzerland. Urbanity therefore seems a good predictor of a preponderance of liberal and left-wing politics, while speaking German on average appears to predestine one to a more conservative and right-wing outlook.
Thus, on the axis of Swiss political mentalities, super-conservative Unteriberg is the mirror-image of ultra-liberal Collonge-Bellerive, and right-wing Küsnacht is just about as far away on the political spectrum as one can get from left-wing Delémont.
This map of regional political mentalities also name-checks some political toponyms unlikely to show up on a regular map, such as the Arc Lémanique (the “Lémannic Arc”), i.e. the most liberal area of French-Switzerland, on the Lac Léman, and the Zürcher Goldküste (the “Zurich Gold Coast”), an equally liberal, but more right-wing area in German-Switzerland.
Many thanks to Marcel Bieler for sending in this map, found here (http://www.sotomo.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=76&Itemid=81) on www.sotomo.ch (http://www.sotomo.ch/), a Swiss website on political geography.
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* German: 64%, French: 20%, Italian: 6.5%. The fourth national language, Rhaeto-Romance (0,5%) apparently is too irrelevant to be represented here.
** Luzern (without Umlaut) in German, Lucerne in English (and French)

http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/403-regional-political-mentalities-in-switzerland/

Caledonian
Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 08:31 AM
I've always heard that Switzerland is mixed very ethnically depending upon what region of the country you go into between Germans, French, and Italians.

Is this true? What are people's expiriences in Switzerland like?

How do those three ethnicities get along with each other overall within the nation?

Heinrich Harrer
Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 09:10 AM
I've always heard that Switzerland is mixed very ethnically depending upon what region of the country you go into between Germans, French, and Italians.

Is this true? What are people's expiriences in Switzerland like?

How do those three ethnicities get along with each other overall within the nation?

I found this map on wiki showing the distribution:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/3/36/20100704050352!Sprachen_CH_2000.png

As for numbers of speakers: 63.7% german, 20.4% french, 6.5% italian (from 2002).

There's also a table showing the historic development in the recent decades:

1950: 72.1% German, 20.3% French, 5.9% Italian, 0.7% Foreign languages
1960: 69.4% German, 18.9% French, 9.5% Italian, 1.4% Foreign languages
1970: 64.9% German, 18.1% French, 11.9% Italian, 4.3% Foreign languages
1980: 65.0% German, 18.4% French, 9.8% Italian, 6.0% Foreign languages
1990: 63.6% German, 19.2% French, 7.6% Italian, 8.9% Foreign languages
2000: 63.7% German, 20.4% French, 6.5% Italian, 9.0% Foreign languages

Looks like the percentage of foreign languages has grown at the cost of German (serbo-croatian seems to be the dominant language from those foreign languages).

Æmeric
Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 03:59 PM
I've always heard that Switzerland is mixed very ethnically depending upon what region of the country you go into between Germans, French, and Italians.

Is this true? What are people's expiriences in Switzerland like?

How do those three ethnicities get along with each other overall within the nation?

I don't think mixed is quite the word for it. The country is divided into cantons, the cantons tended to be very homogeneous in regards to religion & ethnicity. One canton might be French & Protestant, another German & Catholic. Much of the governing powers are devolved upon the cantons & not the Swiss federal government. Most of the ethnic & religious diversity in the individual cantons is due to recent immigration of Eastern Europeans & Muslims.

Sigurd
Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 04:16 PM
Indeed, what Æmeric said about the cantons and their relative homogeneity until foreigners from all parts of the world poured in (despite strict immigration laws, their numbers are still increasing) is quite true.

The fact these cantons are very federal with most politics happening at a local level, rather than a national level, i.e. their being mostly "independent" from each other, is perhaps one of the chief reasons why Switzerland is notably the only successful multi-ethnic country in the long run.

Thus, the Swiss example, often abused by left-liberals as an example that it can and "must" work, is actually a striking example that multi-ethnic states can never work on a large scale, because it's only the way it's organised that keeps it together. Culturally, the phenomenon of the Röstigraben (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Röstigraben) is quite a notable dividing line between French and German Swiss, for instance. ;)

preuss
Sunday, July 24th, 2011, 10:29 PM
Hello all,

I'm relatively new to the forum. In the last few months I have heard many good things about Switzerland in terms of wealth, safety, conservativism and all.

I was just wondering how they seem to be doing much better than any other European country when it comes to keep foreigners to a minimum. I was even surprise to hear that they managed to officially ban minarets (way to go!) and, as far as I know, without any cowardly response form the muslims community (i.e. terrorist attacks).

I'm also impressed with extremely well functioning transports and general infrastructures. Everybody seems to be able to afford properties too, which I think is also a very good sign of a nation interested in self-preservation.

Swiss, how do you do it?

Thanks :)