Dossier

Ausgabe 9

«Die Ehefrau, die den Ausländer heiratet, soll sich die Geschichte klar überlegen»

Geschlecht, Ehe und nationale Zugehörigkeit im 20. Jahrhundert in der Schweiz

Seite 49
Brigitte Studer

Citizenship is generally considered a permanent status of which a person cannot be deprived, following the principle that there can be no involuntary loss of nationality. But in the 19th and at least the first half of the 20th century, many countries applied the so-called «marriage rule», thus depriving women who married a foreigner of their original nationality. This practice sometimes had dramatic consequences, as the First World War demonstrated, and women’s organizations mobilized against it on an inter- national level. In many cases they were successful, but not so in Switzerland. Quite to the contrary, during the Second World War the common-law practice was transformed into a positive statute, albeit within the temporary wartime Vollmachtenrecht, or special mandate law. Only in 1952, with the revision of the federal law on nationality, did women gain the right to an option to keep their Swiss passports. This paper focuses on the controversies between jurists and feminists, but also between different groups of civil servants. It shows that the discursive construction of the nation-state, built on boundaries between the «own» and the «foreign», between stable – thus seemingly loyal – citizenship and unstable citizenship, was highly gendered. It also draws attention to the dynamics of the juridical norms of modern contemporary states, which became more and more interdependent in the 20th century.