Langue as Homeland: The Genevan Reception of Pragmatism

  • Daniel Tröhler


Hardly in any other European country than in Switzerland can we demonstrate evidence of an early and long-lasting interest in pragmatism.1 To be accurate, the Swiss reception had three centers, one of them a kind of “headquarters”: Neuchâtel, Lausanne, and above all Geneva—in other words, in the three Protestant capitals of cantons in the French part of Switzerland. In order to explain this phenomenon, I first reconstruct the early contacts between Geneva and the United States; these show a familiarity going beyond personal sympathy. Next, I focus on the transcontinental exchange after 1905, which became more and more educational, in connection with progressive education; this points out the core element of the Genevans’ specific interest in Deweyan education: activity. Then I try to show that this core element was part of the liberal reformist langue, showing that langues are homelands without political borders, although they do not rule out local readings and accentuations. Finally, I show that the activity of reception was not limited to the Genevans, and that they, in turn, experienced an active reception abroad, showing that libraries do not travel without specific preconditions in the destinations.


Religious Experience Progressive Education Psychological Laboratory French Translation Eternal Truth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Thomas S. Popkewitz 2005

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  • Daniel Tröhler

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