Use of Islam in the Definition of Foreign Otherness in Switzerland: A Comparative Analysis of Media Discourses Between 1970–2004

Author(s) : Anaïd Lindemann, Jörg Stolz

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« In the past decade, Switzerland has become well known for its strict policies of
immigration and minority integration, especially after three votes from 2004: the rejection to facilitate naturalization, the expulsion of foreign criminals, and the banning of the construction of minarets. Citizens voted for each of these initiatives in Switzerland using a direct democratic system. The influence of the media on the decision-making of voters is central to understanding these decisions, resulting in the need to investigate the media discourses concerning foreigners. In this context, several sociologists have suggested that foreigners in Switzerland are mostly represented as Muslims in media and public debates. More specifically, Martin Behloul claims that an Islamization of public debates has been at work since the beginning of the 21st century and that the representation of immigrants has shifted from “immigrated / foreign workers” to “Muslims” (Behloul, 2009). »



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