colonialism without colonies

New article out:

Purtschert, Patricia / Falk, Francesca / Lüthi, Barbara: “Switzerland and ‚Colonialism without Colonies’. Reflections on the Status of Colonial Outsiders” (2015), in: Interventions. International Journal on Postcolonial Studies, DOI 10.1080/1369801X.2015.1042395.


In this essay the theoretical focus of postcolonial theory has been shifted from the cultures and societies of former formal colonies to those countries that have an explicit self-understanding as an outsider within the European colonial power constellation. Using the example of Switzerland, it analyses the presence and perseverance of colonial structures and power relations in a country that has never been regarded as or understood itself as an official colonial power. In a first step, we compare present debates on colonialism in Switzerland with those in neighbouring countries, i.e. France, Germany, Italy and Austria. In a second step, we trace previous research that postulates a link between Switzerland and colonialism, and apply the concept of ‘colonialism without colonies’, which, in contrast, engages with methods and themes that have emerged from postcolonial studies. Finally, we present a specific case study on ‘Swiss commodity racism’ in order to elucidate the concept ‘colonialism without colonies’.