Portraits of the Nation : stamps, coins and banknotes in Belgium and Switzerland, 1880-1945
Title: Portraits of the Nation : stamps, coins and banknotes in Belgium and Switzerland, 1880-1945
Author: SCHWARZENBACH, Alexis
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 1997
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
Portraits of the Nation offers a fascinating insight into the construction and development of national identity in two multilingual countries—Belgium and Switzerland. This book not only shows that multilingualism was no obstacle for the development of national identity—in both countries it was used as a positive means of collective identification —it also demonstrates that other means of identification were much more important. These were found on a national and supra-linguistic level—in Belgium the Royal Family and in Switzerland the Alps—and on a local and sublinguistic level—in Belgium mainly the provinces and in Switzerland the cantons. This study also shows that, contrary to what might be expected, Belgium was often more successful than Switzerland in constructing and adapting its national identity, especially in the inter-war years. Combining written and iconographic sources found in the archives of the national banks, mints and Post Offices in Berne and Brussels this book furthermore fills in an important historiographical gap using stamps, coins and banknotes as historical sources for the first time. Often neglected by historians, Alexis Schwarzenbach successfully argues that these sources have to be seen as important lieux de mernoire and that they are ideally suited for the study of the interrelated topics of memory and identity.
LC Subject Heading: Politics in numismatics -- Belgium -- History; Politics in numismatics -- Switzerland -- History; Postage stamps -- Belgium -- History; Postage stamps -- Switzerland -- History; Bank notes -- Belgium -- History; Bank notes -- Switzerland -- History; Group identity -- Belgium -- History; Group identity -- Switzerland -- History; Belgium -- Politics and government; Switzerland -- Politics and government -- 1848-
Defence date: 13 December 1997; Examining board: Prof. Urs Altermatt, Université de Fribourg ; Prof. John Brewer, EUI (supervisor) ; Prof. Martin Conway, Balliol College, Oxford (ext. supervisor) ; Prof. Luisa Passerini, EUI
Published version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/22068
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