So how has the Swiss nation-state, once Utopian idea, become a reality? How was Switzerland able to keep its independence as a political nation and deal with its economic, social and cultural conflicts? And, finally, how was Switzerland able to turn itself into a modern, industrialised nation, and develop a form of democracy that in the nineteenth century went further than in all other European countries?
In saying that Switzerland represents a ‘paradigmatic case of political integration’, I echo the view of Karl Deutsch, a scholar looking at Switzerland from the outside. Indeed Switzerland has become a society with its own identity only through and because of its political institutions. The role of the political institutions was fundamental in uniting a people with four languages, two religions and different regional cultures and in turning these disadvantages into advantages.
Prof. Wolf Linder in his “Swiss Democracy – Possible Solutions to Conflict in Multicultural Societies”, p. 5 (Palgrave Macmillan 2010).
That’s exactly why BBD always stresses the importance of a new, appropriate political and institutional framework (i.e., statehood) to increase cohesion and deal with South Tyrol’s social and cultural conflicts.