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Public Discourse on Muslims and Foreigners

  • Green Lab; 3
Master program titleMaster en Science Politique
Defense date2013

This thesis analyzes the public discourse on foreigners and Muslims in Switzerland between 2000 and 2009. In Switzerland, as elsewhere in Europe, the debate on immigration, cultural identity and citizenship seems to focus more and more on the Muslim minority. While the Muslim population belonged to the generic group of foreigners in the public debate until recently, it seems that Muslims have become the main problem for integration in Switzerland. In the past decade, two direct democratic campaigns targeted Muslims, raising the question about the compatibility of Swiss and Muslim cultures. What makes Muslims a special group? How does the public discourse on Muslims differ from the portrayal of foreigners in general? Are Muslims perceived as the main threat to Swiss culture and gender equality? To answer these questions empirically, a quantitative content analysis of four major Swiss newspapers was conducted covering three direct democratic campaigns in the last decade. The aim of the analysis was to inductively grasp the discourse of institutional actors on Muslims and on foreigners in general and to discover the main similarities and differences between how these two categories are depicted. While the demographic composition of the Muslim minority has not changed much in the last decade, the way Muslims are perceived in public discourse did. While certain ethnic groups were still categorized as foreigners in 2000, they are more often assigned to the Muslim minority in 2009. The latter, even though of heterogeneous composition, is seen as a more and more homogeneous group causing problems in other fields than foreigners do. This change in discourse should lead to question the current academic and political debate on integration in Switzerland.

  • Discours
  • Musulmans
  • Islam
  • Etrangers
  • Islamophobie
  • Racisme
  • Campagne politique
Citation (ISO format)
FEDDERSEN, Alexandra. Public Discourse on Muslims and Foreigners. 2013.
Main files (1)
Master thesis
  • PID : unige:35314

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