Popular Autobiography in Switzerland
Keywords:Switzerland, autobiography, working-class, social mobility, literacy, everyday history
Switzerland has a very old and lively tradition of working-class writing, including outstanding examples such as Augustin Güntzer, Ulrich Bräker or the weavers Matthias and Heinrich Senn. This rich culture is due to the high social mobility, relatively early successful literacy and Protestant self-introspection. Then, though there are not many texts written by left wing workers, male and female, there is a substantial number of texts written by men and women from the margins of society. These texts are not strongly ideological and are thus very interesting sources for everyday history. Despite this tradition, there is a lack of institutional and scientific interest in collecting and conserving autobiographical texts in Switzerland. This article traces the Swiss tradition of working-class life writing, relating it to the social and cultural factors which enabled it; highlights some of the scholarship of editing and interpretation which these texts have generated; and indicates the author’s own contribution to the task of collecting and cataloguing Swiss popular autobiographical texts.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).