Legitimate and Illegitimate Diversity - Switzerland and its Minorities
Switzerland has made linguistic diversity one of the pillars of its national unity. More than being «united in diversity», the country is united by the promotion of its differences. From a philosophical point of view, considering native diversity as a source of wealth to be preserved may seem biased in favour of a certain concept of the «good life». By the principle of territoriality, the Confederation implicitly chooses to favour the preservation of groups and their collective intention over the individual liberty to choose one’s language. This choice is understood in reference to the political form taken by the Swiss nation, a «consociation» (Walzer, 1998). Differing from the nation state, the aim of a consociation is to preserve languages and cultures of a nation’s native groups, even the smallest minorities. However, is the consociation model a more tolerant model than the nation state, which privileges the majority culture? Not necessarily, because the political mechanisms aimed at preserving national minorities result in the promotion of cultural assimilation among immigrant populations. Thus, what initially appeared as a policy to promote diversity turns out to be based on a clear demarcation between legitimate differences, that should be preserved, and those that should be made to disappear.
Éditeur L’Harmattan, Titre Droit et Cultures 77 | 2019/1
Language(s) – discourse – communication
Art – culture
Discriminations – marginalisation – segregation