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World Political Science

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Liberal and Radical Democracies: The Swiss Cantons Compared

Marc Bühlmann / Adrian Vatter / Oliver Dlabac / Hans-Peter Schaub
Published Online: 2014-09-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wpsr-2014-0017

Abstract

This article examines the widespread hypothesis that German-speaking Swiss cantons exhibit radical-democratic characteristics, while the Latin cantons possess stronger liberal-representative democratic profiles. Empirical and multi-dimensional measuring of the quality of democracy in the cantons shows that this hypothesis does not do the complexity of cantonal democracy justice. Today’s position of the cantons along the axes of liberal and radical democracy is best explained with reference to the strong liberal and democratic constitutional movements within the cantons during the middle of the 19th century.

Keywords: measuring the quality of democracy; liberal democracy; radical democracy; Switzerland; path dependence (Erblast hypothesis)

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About the article

Corresponding author: Marc Bühlmann, Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland, e-mail:


Published Online: 2014-09-18

Published in Print: 2014-10-01


Citation Information: World Political Science, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 385–423, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2363-4774, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wpsr-2014-0017.

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