Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Le débat suisse sur l’enseignement des langues étrangères: vers une réflexion sur l’auto-constitution du collectif helvétique

Acklin Muji, Dunya

In: Bulletin VALS-ASLA, 2003, vol. 77, p. 67-81

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    This paper proposes a praxeological analysis of the dynamics of Swiss public debate about foreign languages at school. In particular, the question of teaching English before a Swiss national language is examined. This analysis first shows how a local issue becomes a national one in the media and political arenas. It then goes on to examine some key underlying notions of the issue («war between languages», «danger for national cohesion», «problem of social cohesion»). Secondly, it shows how this national and emotional conflict is defused and which form of social regulation is adopted. This leads to questions about the accomplishment of the Swiss (political) community in and through public discourse. Finally, the analysis presents some reflections on different conceptions of school and its relationships with the State and the private sector.