EUDO Citizenship Observatory. Country report: Switzerland

Author(s) : Alberto Achermann, Christin Achermann, Gianni D’Amato, Martina Kamm, Barbara Von Rütte

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« In the French edition of his comparative study on the relationship between citizenship and nationhood in France and Germany, Rogers Brubaker mentions the difficulty of translating the concept of citizenship into different languages. In German, citizenship is mostly translated as Staatsbürgerschaft and/or Staatsangehörigkeit and in French as citoyenneté and/or nationalité. Both of the German terms are rooted in very different historical developments of the nation and the nation-state. The origins, connotations and meanings of the notions that determine what citizenship exactly means, therefore vary considerably from country to country. These notions strongly depend on the country’s specific historical, political and cultural development. In multilingual Switzerland the situation is complex insofar as the historicity of the notion ‘citizenship’ is combined with parallel language systems (Studer et al. 2008). In the largest part of Switzerland, the German-speaking part, the legal affiliation to a state is called Bürgerrecht (formerly Schweizerbürgerrecht). The use of the term Bürgerrecht in this sense is specific to the German-speaking part of Switzerland »

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