Switzerland and 'Colonialism without Colonies'. Reflections on the Status of Colonial Outsiders.

Purtschert, Patricia; Falk, Francesca; Lüthi, Barbara (2016). Switzerland and 'Colonialism without Colonies'. Reflections on the Status of Colonial Outsiders. Interventions. International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 18(2), pp. 286-302. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/1369801X.2015.1042395

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In this essay the theoretical focus of postcolonial theory has been shifted from the cultures and societies of former formal colonies to those countries that have an explicit self-understanding as an outsider within the European colonial power constellation. Using the example of Switzerland, it analyses the presence and perseverance of colonial structures and power relations in a country that has never been regarded as or understood itself as an official colonial power. In a first step, we compare present debates on colonialism in Switzerland with those in neighbouring countries, i.e. France, Germany, Italy and Austria. In a second step, we trace previous research that postulates a link between Switzerland and colonialism, and apply the concept of ‘colonialism without colonies’, which, in contrast, engages with methods and themes that have emerged from postcolonial studies. Finally, we present a specific case study on ‘Swiss commodity racism’ in order to elucidate the concept ‘colonialism without colonies’.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


09 Interdisciplinary Units > Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICFG)

UniBE Contributor:

Purtschert, Patricia




Taylor & Francis




Vanessa Näf

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2016 16:20

Last Modified:

07 Oct 2016 16:20

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

colonial outsider, colonialism, commodity, racism, postcolonial, studies, Switzerland





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