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The use of genetic technologies for reproductive, farming, agricultural and scientific purposes has long been a matter of public concern in Switzerland. As a result of a series of legislative initiatives at the federal level, as well as of popular referenda, the country developed one of the most restrictive regulatory environments in Europe for research, potentially leading to human germline genome modification. In particular, any genetic manipulation of reproductive cells or embryos is strictly forbidden, regardless its intended purpose. This chapter will illustrate the way constitutional- and federal-level legislation, as well as international law and regulatory provisions rigidly constrain research activities that could potentially lead to genetic alterations in humans and their progeny. In such a restrictive context, it is highly unlikely that recent technical advances in genetic engineering and genome editing will be employed to produce germline genome modifications for either medical or purely scientific purposes. Furthermore, while the Swiss National Advisory Commission for Biomedical Ethics has recently expressed partial support for basic research possibly involving the genetic modification of human embryos, there are currently no indications that legislative initiatives will be undertaken to ease current regulations on such controversial matters.
In the late eighteenth century, Swiss Cantons had been ruled by privilege, inequality, and conflicts; yet thirty years later a modern political nation was born that quickly caught up with developed England. Was this an internally-driven miracle or the most successful improvement in governance known in history following an external intervention? Chapter 1 deconstructs the transformation of Switzerland during the French Revolution and Empire, to inquire why a similar Napoleonic ambition seems to have met with less success in our own times.
Undisturbed megalithic burials are extremely rare because in addition to human activities, natural disturbances due to water influence and erosion or faunal activity are likely to occur over time. The dolmen of Oberbipp discovered in 2011 provides a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary research since anthropogenic and natural disturbances are minor. Morphological analysis indicates that approximately 42 individuals were buried in the grave chamber. Using archaeological methods alone, it would not have been possible to determine different occupation periods within the inhumations. Neolithic communities often reused dolmen over centuries. Therefore, radiocarbon (14C) dating is the only method that can solve the question of temporal resolution. Fragments of the same bone element (right femora) were analyzed by two (in some cases three) different laboratories to date all inhumations individually. The aim of this study was threefold: (1) to determine the total occupation time of the dolmen (2) to evaluate the sequence of the burials, and (3) to compare the results of the same skeletal element from different laboratories. In total, 79 radiocarbon dating results from three different laboratories of the right femora (n = 32) were obtained. The total time span of the occupation of the dolmen was between 3350 and 2650 BC. The broad application of radiocarbon dating allowed the determination of two occupation periods within the burial.
Culpeper, O’Driscoll and Hardaker’s chapter probes into British people’s understandings of politeness and contrasts them with the understandings of people in North America. Such overarching generalisations, the authors argue, are commonly found in lay persons’ assessments of politeness and thus constitute fertile ground for studies of metapragmatic politeness. Furthermore, the results of a survey of studies focusing on either British culture or North American culture as reified entities indicated a scarcity of emic studies of these cultures in the field of politeness. The authors’ study aims to fill this gap. To that end, they apply corpus linguistic tools to the Oxford English Corpus and subject to scrutiny the lexeme ‘polite’ and the associated clusters of collocates. The results are then triangulated with geolocated Twitter data. Findings partly support both the British and the North American politeness stereotypes, but also show that, contrary to expectations, friendliness and involvement are an important feature of understandings of politeness in both the UK and the USA.
Locher and Luginbühl’s chapter takes a discursive approach to politeness, analyzing how im/polite behavior of Germans and Swiss is discussed in recent online commentaries on national differences. The study draws on newspaper coverage claiming that most Swiss people do not like German immigrants because of, among other reasons, what they consider their impolite behavior. The data (written in standard German) focus on a discussion of what the German-speaking population considers as politeness in a Swiss context and how this differs from politeness norms in Germany. A content analysis of the comments is followed by a linguistic analysis of selected codes. The results show a number of interesting clashes of language ideologies as societal/cultural politeness ideologies interlace with general language ideologies; language and culture were often equated. This entails that Swiss German dialects and German standard German are constructed as being two separate languages. Furthermore, not only is ‘Swiss German’ depicted as a homogeneous entity and as a different language than German; the behavior that comes with it, a Swiss politeness, is also construed as a unified construct.
In 2017, France established a due diligence statutory obligation for French parent companies to monitor extraterritorial human rights and environmental abuses committed by their off-shore affiliates. Switzerland is also considering adopting a similar law for Swiss parent companies. These obligations are comparable to the duty of care that, according to recent case law, British parent companies owe towards their subsidiaries’ neighbours. This article compares and contrasts the newly introduced French due diligence statutory obligation, the UK precedents, and two alternative Swiss legislative proposals on the due diligence and duty of care of parent companies.
The basic income (BI) scheme is a fundamental reform of the welfare state that has recently gained widespread attention. Proposals for different variants of BI schemes have emerged to account for varying political and societal goals. This study investigates what citizens think about the idea of a BI, and to what extent citizens’ perceptions depend on the exact design of such a scheme and the context in which this policy is embedded. Empirically, we rely on conjoint experiments conducted in Finland and Switzerland – the two countries in which the introduction of a BI scheme has recently been discussed most intensely. We find that the level of public support for BI is higher in Finland than it is in Switzerland. Moreover, despite the contrasting designs of the BI proposals in the two countries, both Finnish and Swiss citizens tend to favor more generous schemes restricting non-nationals’ access to the provision.
“Get up, stand up and live! That's a movement.” — Elisabeth Joris (Joris 2015b)
Are women's parties effective? More than 50 women's parties have emerged since 1990 in countries all over the world, contesting and winning seats in local, national, and regional legislatures. Although women's parties are not infrequent, appear in a variety of contexts, and advance common agendas related to inclusion and equality, we know very little about their experiences or whether they have been able to achieve their goals. In this article, Frauen Macht Politik (FraP!) is examined to consider whether and how women's parties present an avenue for advancing women's movement goals. The evidence shows that forming a party can help the movement to set the public agenda, can increase the attention paid to their issues, and can influence the formal institutions of politics. Many variables neglected elsewhere in the literature shape the ability of niche parties to affect the commitments of more established parties: the nature of the small party; its composition, intent, reach, and resources; its institutional context; and the boundaries of the organization. These features also determine the extent to which women's movements can use a political party to influence the representativeness of a political system.
In Western countries, an increasing number of companies has difficulties with recruiting and retaining employees, along with growing employer responsibilities in the workplace. Therefore, companies’ interest in disability management programs has increased. This article examines employee perspectives of disability management and how it is related to job satisfaction, physical and mental health, workplace morale and sickness absence. Employees from seven Swiss companies (N=482), from the private and public sector, participated in either an online and paper-and-pencil survey for this present study. The survey asked employees to report their views of how disability management is related to job satisfaction, mental health, physical health, workplace morale and absenteeism. The Swiss employees participating in the study knew about disability management and related programs, which are implemented in their company. They valued them as moderately helpful for a variety of factors related to workplace wellbeing, and regarded the programs generally as high quality and wanted them to continue, because they contribute to job satisfaction, mental health, physical health, workplace morale and reduced sickness absence. However, employees also saw more value in disability prevention (DP) and stay at work (SAW) programs than in return to work (RTW) programs. Male employees and those working for public organisations saw more benefit in disability management programs than female employees and those working in the private sector.
Prospects for democracy in multi-ethnic societies are generally more promising if elections are not mere ethnic censuses, in which people vote predominantly for co-ethnic parties and candidates. But what institutions facilitate or hinder ethnic voting? Unlike past studies, this article explores ethnic voting by conducting a natural experiment (rather than surveys or laboratory experiments). It examines the case of Fribourg, a bilingual (French/German) Swiss canton where elections at different levels of government, within the same electoral district, are held under both majoritarian and proportional systems. Coupled with the high territorial homogeneity of the linguistic groups, this unique setting allows us to conduct a robust empirical analysis of voter behaviour. We find that cross-ethnic voting is significantly more frequent in multi-member majoritarian elections than in list-PR elections or in two-member majoritarian elections. Our results yield qualified support to the centripetalist approach to electoral design in multi-ethnic societies, that favours majoritarian systems, rather than to the consociational school that advocates proportional representation.
With the exception of Circum-Alpine wetland sites, structural remains of fourth-millennium BC settlements in Central Europe are rarely encountered. As a result, there is a dearth of information concerning settlement organisation and social differentiation. Recent excavations at the waterlogged Parkhaus Opéra site on the shores of Lake Zurich have, however, provided important new evidence for the existence of complex Late Neolithic settlement strategies and social stratification. Excellent organic preservation conditions permit extensive dendrochronological analyses of structures and the precise phasing of building activity. The results reveal a complex and highly dynamic settlement system, and provide a rare insight into the organisation of Late Neolithic Central European society.
The lakeshores of western Switzerland are one of Europe's best-known Neolithic settlement areas, thanks to dendrochronological dating and the exceptional preservation of organic materials. Against this outstanding background, this study uses zooarchaeological data to answer a series of questions regarding the Neolithic economy, environment and human-environment interactions at these lakeshore sites. It also discusses, within an interdisciplinary framework, the possible impact climatic fluctuations, cultural influence, topographical conditions, and demographic growth had on economic change. The results show that the faunal economy was mainly based on animal husbandry, with fluctuations in the cattle-pig ratio. Hunting also played an important role in the food system and focused mainly on large game, especially red deer, which contributed significantly to the meat supply. The results from comparing these animal bone remains also show that multiple factors, such as topography, climatic conditions, and cultural influence, played a part in the socio-economic organisation of the Neolithic communities. Exploratory procedures such as correspondence analysis support these interpretations.
Despite its importance as a financial centre, the historical literature dedicated to the Swiss financial industry remains scarce. Analyses focusing on cantons and cities of the country are even more limited in number. This is unfortunate and is, in all likelihood, linked to the reluctance of financial institutions to share information in a country where banking secrecy has been at the core of the past success of these institutions. Despite this willingness to share as little as possible, some archival funds have gradually become available, most notably after businesses went bankrupt, changed hands, or simply disappeared. The present article relies on these sources to analyse the evolution of the Geneva stock exchange during the interwar period, which saw a gradual decline of its activity. Independent brokers strived to keep their oligopoly over banks. At the same time, Swiss German banks tried to penetrate the canton-controlled marketplace by using their federal rights and strength to become unavoidable actors. They could ultimately help local bankers gain direct access to the Geneva stock exchange, obliterating the power of brokers who were left with no other choice than to appeal to the Canton of Geneva to defend their position.
Demonstrated economic benefits of conversion to organic agriculture, combined with solutions to technical and production-related problems, suggest that farmers in Switzerland should have converted in large numbers to organic production. However, the number of organic farms in Switzerland has remained virtually constant in the last 10 yr, so it appears there are other factors that influence the decision of whether or not to convert. Several studies have sought to identify the factors that influence the decisions by farmers whether or not to convert to organic, but have found a range of factors that appear to be context dependent, while others can be seen as context transcendent, which makes it difficult to draw generalizable conclusions. The aim of this study was to identify how Swiss farmers’ decisions reflect the interaction of perceptions, relationships, policies and economic factors, which either enable or provide barriers to conversion. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2015 with 39 farmers of mixed and arable farms in the German- (n = 24) and French-speaking (n = 15) parts of Switzerland. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed according to their content. The results show that the decision of whether or not to convert relies on belief that technical problems have been sufficiently solved, as well as a range of social factors. Farmers perceive social pressure for them to be productive, but non-organic farmers often incorrectly perceive organic farming as not being oriented toward production. Furthermore, ‘official’ advice, which could correct this misperception, is sought about how, rather than whether, to convert and typically comes after farmers have made their decision. Major barriers in an area with a low density of organic farms are the lack of supply and delivery points within an acceptable travel distance, and lack of peer networks to provide informal support. On the basis of these findings, we propose that strategies to encourage conversion should be based around two main pillars: investment to create a network of supply and delivery points in areas with low density of organic farms; and actions, such as information events, to encourage dialogue between conventional and organic farmers to counteract feelings of ‘us vs them’.
This paper studies the rise of professors of economics and business studies in the second half of the 20th century in Switzerland. It focuses on three types of power resources: positions in the university hierarchy, scientific reputation and extra-academic positions in the economic and political spheres. Based on a biographical database of N = 487 professors, it examines how these resources developed from 1957 to 2000. We find that professors of economic sciences were increasingly and simultaneously successful on all three studied dimensions – especially when compared to disciplines such as law, social sciences or humanities. This evolution seems to challenge the notorious trade-off between scientific and society poles of the academic field: professors of economics and business increased their scientific reputation while becoming more powerful in worldly positions. However, zooming in on their individual endowment with capital, we see that the same professors rarely hold simultaneously a significant amount of scientific and institutional capital.
Archaeozoological research of Roman animal bones has a long tradition in Switzerland. In the 1950s, Elisabeth Schmid started analysing bones from the Roman city of Augusta Raurica. On the basis of these analyses she published her Atlas of Animal Bones (1972) which is still in use all over the world today. To date, more than 300,000 bone fragments from different Swiss sites have been analysed. In 2002 a synthesis of Swiss data was published by Jörg Schibler et al.; in that publication, the authors focused on social aspects. They assumed that the Roman animal economy was more or less standardized in the region, and that differences existed mainly between settlement types and within sites. In the last few years, not only have more data been recorded, but also other research questions about functional and regional difference—especially between western and eastern Switzerland (Germania Superior and Raetia)—are becoming more important. These differences show the variability and adaptability of the Roman economy.
The history and iconography of Swiss stained glass dating between the 16th and 18th centuries are well studied. However, the chemical and morphological characteristics of the glass and glass paints, particularly the nature of the raw materials, the provenance of the glass, and the technology used to produce it are less well understood. In this paper, we studied two sets of samples from stained-glass panels attributed to Switzerland, which date from the 16th to 17th centuries: the first set comes from Pena National Palace collection, the second from Vitrocentre Romont. The aims were to identify the materials used in the production of the glass, to find out more about their production origin and to characterize the glass paints. Both glass and the glass paints were analysed by particle-induced X-ray emission; the paints were additionally analysed by scanning electron microscopy–electron-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). The results show that the glass from both sets was probably produced in the same region and that wood ash was used as a fluxing agent. Different recipes have been used to make the blue enamels. However, the cobalt ore used as a coloring agent in all of the blue enamels came from the mining district in Schneeberg, Germany.
This essay partakes in the dialogue between history, anthropology, and social theory on the topic of debt as a social relation. Drawing on sources from nineteenth-century Switzerland, it examines everyday routines of debt collection in liberalism by taking the seized collateral object to the center of historical analysis. It is shown how the attached goods in a debtor's household became an object of knowledge for nineteenth-century framers of law as well as for ordinary debtors. I make use of anthropological theory in order to describe the legal techniques of delineating and extracting collateral, and show how these legal techniques implied specific knowledge practices. I then look at two borderline cases of collateralization: the pawning of mobile goods and the imprisonment of insolvent debtors. Further, I discuss how, by the 1880s, the limits of debt collection were debated, when certain goods were exempt for seizure in a projected federal law. Overall, on an epistemological level, debt collection appears as a double movement: it provided basic tools to untangle property relationships, yet all the while it created new, unpredictable complications. Thus debt collection was a distinctive arena in which the uneasy conceptual relationship between people and things in nineteenth-century liberalism unfolded. From this conceptual node I propose a historical epistemology of the collateral object.