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Visions of Utopia in Switzerland


Joy Charnley and Malcolm Pender

The constitutional reform of 1848, which created the present political structures and legal system of Switzerland, bordered on the ideal in the regulation of human affairs, but has been adjusted over the years in the light of changing circumstances. Arguably, the political arrangements which enable the cultures of Switzerland to live together in relative harmony can be viewed in the year 2000, when Europe remains scarred by repression and violence between ethnic and language groups, as being closer to Utopia than arrangements obtaining in other places.
The essays in this third volume of Occasional Papers in Swiss Studies discuss differing notions of Utopia from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries in relation to Switzerland and the often chastening confrontation of these notions with reality. Following on the constitutional reform put in place in 2000, Visions of Utopia in Switzerland aims to set in context the current debate about the kind of society Switzerland wishes to become – isolationist or open to Europe, narrowly traditional or widely multicultural.
Contents: Joy Charnley: ‘J’aime bien ma Suisse’: Some Italian Reactions to the Schwarzenbach Initiative of 1970 – Bernard Degen: The Total Defence Society: A Dark Vision of the Political and Military Elite – Armin Kühne: When Citizens become Customers: Institutional Conditions for the Democratic Accountability of New Public Management in a Direct Democracy – Malcolm Pender: Unrealised Visions of the Future: Max Frisch and achtung: Die Schweiz – Fabienne Regard: Jewish Refugees in Switzerland during the Second World War – Brigitte Schnegg: Looking back to the Future: Designs for an Ideal Society in the Swiss Enlightenment.