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The Swiss Paradox

Egalitarianism and Hierarchy in a Model Democracy

Marina Gold

The Swiss system of direct democracy is in many ways paradoxical. The federal structure counteracts the formation of centralizing state hierarchies and protects the egalitarian representation of local political interests. Simultaneously, local political structures can have hierarchical and exclusionary effects, especially when democratic processes are turned into values. This article considers the tensions between egalitarian and hierarchical values in Swiss democratic structures in the wake of the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU passions harnessed by extreme right-wing parties. These tensions are heightened in the context of global processes that are transforming the structures of the state, as corporate power undermines state apparatuses with the potential to subvert democratic practices.

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Émile Durkheim

1906h. In Bulletin des bibliothèques populaires, mai : 70–71. J. PAYOT. – Les Idées de M. Bourru (délégué cantonal). – Paris, Armand Colin, 1904, in-18, VIII–399 p., 3 fr. 50.

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Contested Citizenship

Public Schooling and Political Changes in Early Nineteenth Century Switzerland

Ingrid Brühwiler

This article examines public education and the establishment of the nation-state in the first half of the nineteenth century in Switzerland. Textbooks, governmental decisions, and reports are analyzed in order to better understand how citizenship is depicted in school textbooks and whether (federal) political changes affected the image of the “imagined citizen” portrayed in such texts. The “ideal citizen” was, first and foremost, a communal and cantonal member of a twofold society run by the church and the secular government, in which nationality was depicted as a third realm.

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History and Transport Policy

The Swiss Experience

Ueli Haefeli, Fritz Kobi and Ulrich Seewer

Based on analysis of two case studies in the Canton of Bern, this article examines the question of knowledge transfer from history to transport policy and planning in the recent past in Switzerland. It shows that for several reasons, direct knowledge transfer did not occur. In particular, historians have seldom become actively involved in transport planning and policy discourses, probably partly because the academic system offers no incentive to do so. However, historical knowledge has certainly influenced decision-making processes indirectly, via personal reflection of the actors in the world of practice or through Switzerland's strongly developed modes of political participation. Because the potential for knowledge transfer to contribute to better policy solutions has not been fully utilized, we recommend strengthening the role of existing interfaces between science and policy.

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The Death Throes of Sacrificed Chicken

Triggering Critical Reflexive Stances on Ritual Action in Togo

Marie Daugey

locality, at least three or four bulls are sacrificed in different woodland sanctuaries that mark the main foundation sites of the canton and of the clans. 15 The recipients of these sacrifices are mythical founders and impersonal earth spirits, all of