Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Politikwissenschaft, Institut für » Prof. Dr. Adrian Vatter (ausgetreten) » Vatter

Completed research project

Title / Titel The Quality of Democracy in the Swiss Cantons
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Original title / Originaltitel Demokratiequalität in den Schweizer Kantonen
Summary / Zusammenfassung Hardly anyone would doubt that Switzerland and its cantons are democratic systems. But the consensus finds its end at the latest when we ask how democratic which cantons are. This research project tries to yield answers to this question.

While the Swiss cantons' qualitites of democracies vary within a common constitutional and cultural framework, they do constitute democracies in their own right and have used their freedom to retain and develop different institutional setups. Moreover, they have filled their formal institutions with life in different ways - catonal democracies' qualities vary both in terms of 'rules in form' and of 'rules in use'.

In order to assess these variations, this project measures both liberal aspects of representative democracy and so-called radical democratic aspects of substantial participation by all citizens in public decision-making. This broad concept of democracy does justice not only to the diversity of democratic theories, but also to the context of Swiss cantons where the opposition between liberal representation and participatory direct democracy is important in several respects.

The aims of the research project are, first, to assess the Swiss cantons' democratic qualities since 1979; secondly, to discover which cantons are rather liberal and which are rather radical democracies; and thirdly, to examine potential trade-offs between different aspects of cantonal democratic quality.
Keywords / Suchbegriffe quality of democracy, radical democracy, liberal democracy, Switzerland, Swiss cantons
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Adrian Vatter (Project Leader)
Dr. Marc Bühlmann
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung)
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
University of Zurich, Centre for Democracy Aarau Switzerland
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Mar 2008 to Jun 2010