Australian Journal of French Studies

Resisting the Image: Heidi, Sheep and Swiss Trash

Australian Journal of French Studies (2022), 59, (2), 198–216.

Abstract

The novel Swiss Trash, written by Dunia Miralles in 2000, interrogates stereotypes around immigration and nationhood in contemporary francophone Switzerland, with the intention of turning some notions on their head and letting others fester, uncomfortably. The French-language text underscores the divisions, the startling differences present within a seemingly perfect “Heidiland.” Its English title hints at complex and often equivocal cultural denotations extant within the Helvetic Confederation. A simultaneous reading of Swiss Trash and Heidi, of familiar Swiss citizens and intrusive immigrants, offers, this article contends, revealing visions of a dismal present/future and an idealized past. Read alongside works of literature, this essay examines powerful political images conveying a foreign threat on Swiss billboards during referenda in 2010-2011 in the city of Geneva. It compares divergent visual, journalistic and literary depictions of Swiss and other-ness, interpretations that investigate the oxymoron “Swiss Trash.”

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Author details

GOSNELL, JONATHAN K.