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One Country – one Public Sphere? The Pillarization of Switzerland’s Language Regions in the Swiss Media

Sun, May 28, 12:30 to 13:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 4 (Sapphire), Exhibit Hall - Rear


This paper discusses a potential pillarization of the Swiss (media) public sphere on the basis of a secondary analysis of a content analysis of three Swiss quality newspapers. The Swiss public sphere is characterized by its particular feature of the four official languages (German, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic), which result in at least three different public spheres defined by language and culture. As a basis for modern democracies, mass media communication and the sufficient representation of all cultural groups is crucial for social and cultural integration. As indicators for a pillarization of the public sphere, the empirical analysis examined the sufficient representation of other language regions in news agendas as well as the proportion of exclusively featured topics. The results support the hypothesis of a pillarization of the Swiss national public sphere and proof low attention on national topics as well as a strong thematic focus on the own language region.