|Title / Titel||Swiss-South Afrikan relationships during the period of apartheid in public political communications in Switzerland between 1948 and 2001|
|Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)|
|Original title / Originaltitel||Die schweizerisch-südafrikanischen Beziehungen während der Apartheidzeit in der öffentlich politischen Kommunikation der Schweiz zwischen 1948 und 2001|
|Summary / Zusammenfassung||In order to understand the most recent political debate which has flared up again within the context of the discussion of the so called "Schatten des Zweiten Weltkrieges" (shadow of the Second World War) about the relationship between Switzerland and South Africa, it is absolutely crucial to reconstruct the positions, perceptions and expectations of the political agents against a contemporary background. This not only provides the foundations for judging the actions (and omissions) of the political agents involved in the past, but also for their present-day positioning and justification and is thus indispensable for forming a valid historical judgment. This research project consequently analyses the evolution of the topic of "Swiss-South African relationships during the period of apartheid" in public political communications in Switzerland between 1948 and 2001. The basis for this investigation is formed by a systematic analysis of the media and parliamentary arenas. Two factors are analysed in the course of this arena analysis. The first is the resonance evoked by the positions taken up by representatives of the authorities, by apartheid critics and anti-critics of Swiss policy vis-à-vis South Africa in the subsystems of politics and media. The second comprises the interrelationships between the media and political (parliament, government authorities) systems and thus the diffusion processes of the interpretative models and positions with respect to the relationships between these two countries.
As various investigations have already shown, the relationships between Switzerland and the South African apartheid regime became a matter of greatly intensified focus in the media and in parliament particularly in the periods 1960-1964 (after the Sharpeville massacre) 1976-1980 (after the Soweto uprising), 1985-1989 (at the high point of the international boycott against South Africa) and again from 1998/99 (as a result of diverse parliamentary initiatives aimed at clarifying controversial relationships). The positions assumed by the political agents and the media regarding the relationships between Switzerland and South Africa’s apartheid regime during these phases of increased resonance in the media and parliamentary arenas will be examined by a qualitative contents analysis (agent, position and resonance analysis). The analysis of the media arena will include representative media from the French and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland in addition to the leading media from the German-speaking region. The most important administrative sources will also be analysed within the scope of the central political debates on arms exports (during the sixties) and the question of a boycott (eighties). The agent, position and resonance analysis will be supplemented by a diffusion analysis which will be used to examine the interdependence between these arenas and the measures and resolutions taken by the executive. This allows two things: firstly, the interplay between the administration, the political agents in parliament and the media agents can be reconstructed. And secondly, the conditions under which non-established political agents impact the parliamentary arena by gaining the attention of the media in order to initiate or influence political processes can be analysed.
Such comprehensive access to public political communications appears indispensable to us in order to obtain a well-rounded picture of the relationships between Switzerland and the apartheid regime and to reflect official Swiss foreign policy during the apartheid period against the background of corresponding public opinion. Without a systematic knowledge of the public debate, the results of the archive searches which have been initiated in order to bring to light official Swiss attitudes to South Africa during the apartheid period could not be conclusively assessed. This is because the historical judgment of actions (and omissions) must be made against the background of their positioning in public political discourse and with a knowledge of the interpretations used in this discourse
|Keywords / Suchbegriffe||Apartheid, public sphere, media system, political system, arena comparison, social movements, diffusion processes, Swiss-South African relations, Cold War|
|Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
|Funding source(s) /
|SNF (Programm NFP)
NFP 42+ "Südafrika
|Duration of Project / Projektdauer||Nov 2001 to Apr 2003|