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Power and Weakness of Civic Nationalism in Switzerland 1848–2014

Argast, Regula (2019). Power and Weakness of Civic Nationalism in Switzerland 1848–2014. In: Trautsch, Jaspar M. (ed.) Civic Nationalisms in Global Perspective. Routledge Studies in Modern History (pp. 30-53). London: Routledge

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This chapter addresses the effectiveness of and limits to civic nationalism as an integrative force in Switzerland. It shows that the civic nationalism of the Swiss state’s liberal ‘Founding Fathers’ in 1848 was at first controversial and from 1900 on was challenged by essentialist conceptions of the nation despite the linguistic, cultural, denominational, religious, and political diversity of the country. The high tides of civic nationalism were the period after 1848, when Christian Swiss men gained the right of residence and political rights for the whole of Switzerland; the two decades before the First World War, when naturalization was facilitated; and the second half of the 1990s, when municipal authorities sought to secure ‘lived citoyenneté’ among Swiss and foreign residents through new integration measures. However, well-established discourses of discrimination, direct democracy, essentialist conceptions of the nation and, in recent years, anti-immigration populism have repeatedly set limits to these inclusive aspirations in Switzerland.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

PHBern Contributor:

Argast Kury, Regula




Routledge Studies in Modern History






Jessica Brunner

Date Deposited:

26 Jul 2022 17:06

Last Modified:

26 Jul 2022 17:06

Uncontrolled Keywords:

civic nationalism, history, Switzerland


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