Traditionally, outside observers have tended to idealize Switzerland, to admire its standard of living and to glorify its democratic government. Against this background, a recent assessment that 'the Swiss island of calm is becoming a little more like other countries' is rather new.For Swiss social scientists, this outside assessment is a pleasant confirmation of what they have come to observe for some time. For several years, they have been engaged in a large scale research programme to describe and analyse the transformation of Swiss society. This volume presents the major findings involved in this programme, focussing on three key areas: the Swiss way of life, the Swiss labour market, and the country's political institutions. The book provides an impression both of current trends in Swiss society and of the scope of this unique programme, with each argument from a compararive perspective.The upshot of these analyses is that while the Swiss are on their way to becoming Europeans, just as their neighbhors, they still live in a particular institutional context. The Swiss path to modenity is embedded in a set of institutions, whcih provide its citizens with a quality of life that is chracterised by specific strengths, but also by certain weaknesses which are discussed in detail.

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