1.1 Problem Formulation and Previous Research
A comparative study between France, Spain and Switzerland has been chosen with regards to how their respective governments are trying to solve and respond to the problems, which multicultural societies create. These could be problems concerning the threat of cultural distinction, which many ethnic minorities have been facing, theeconomic disadvantages they seem to suffer from or the inability to affect the political agenda. This subject has been selected because insufficient attention has been paid to these kinds of issues, which should be given much more weight since they will not be resolved by themselves. In order to learn why these problems occur and to prevent them from turning into situations that exist incountries like Israel or the former Yugoslavia more focus and analysis needs to be done on these issues. A lot of research has been conducted on multicultural societies, the problems, which may occur, how minority groups are being suppressed, and the roots of the instability. In fact, there is some research on the different solutions to these conflicts. The aim here is not to examine them now. Instead,one of the most well-known and tested theories in this area will be applied, namely, the work of Arendt Lijphart, one of the forerunners with regards to finding solutions to problems arising in multicultural societies.
Switzerland has been chosen because it gives good examples of different aspects of a multicultural country and, at the same time, different ways of dealing with the problemsthat have arisen. One problem, which is probably unavoidable, is the difficulty in trying to find a model that will fit all situations since the problems vary a great deal from one country to another.
The purpose of this essay is to do a comparative study between France, Spain and Switzerland in view of their responses to their respective multicultural societies. How far have they gonein trying to find a possible solution, which sees each party enjoying equal treatment and opportunities? Are there any theories that could bring us closer to a solution to all the problems? This will be examined by looking at each government’s strategy in dealing with these problems. The focus will be on the mid 20th century until the present day as well as the theories, which may provide us withthe best solutions to these problems.
Since this work is of a limited nature, there will only be a comparison of three multicultural states in Europe with, as mentioned earlier, the focus being on 1950 until the present day. If all the contemporary countries had been selected, the aim of this study would have been lost and this would have prevented a closer examination of eachcountry and each field. Instead, it would have given a very shallow perspective. Spain and France have been chosen because of their long history of multicultural problems as a result of the unwillingness of their respective governments to power-share.
Switzerland seems to be a perfect country to study since in this small country there are three distinct groups of people that have managed to liveside by side for decades. Thus, a good starting-point in order to obtain examples as to how to solve the issue of ethnic minorities.
A qualitative comparative method is to be used since it is the most suitable one for this essay as (vad menar du?) to the content in the study. Qualitative research is a multi-method with a focus involving an interpretative approach to its subjectmatter. It is also defined as a detailed description of situations, events, people, interactions, observed behaviours, direct quotations from people about their experiences, attitudes, beliefs and thoughts and excerpts or entire passages from documents, correspondence, records and case studies. To obtain relevant facts without your own subjective opinions interfering and to render the absolute...