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Swiss are growing consumers of culture, survey finds

scene from a play
"High culture" activities like going to the theatre are becoming increasingly the domain of older people. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

The Swiss are consuming more and more culture, a study covering the period 1976-2019 revealed on Tuesday.

Some 40% of the population is now made up of cultural eclectics, followed by a third that are inactive in cultural activities, and a third that follow “high culture” such as going to the theatre, concerts or museums, the survey found.

The study was conducted by Sebastian Weingartner of the Statistical Office of canton Zurich, and Professor Jörg Rössel of the University of Zurich. It was published in the journal Social Change in SwitzerlandExternal link.

“While the culturally inactive dominated the 1970s, the eclectics are now the largest group,” the authors of the study wrote. The share of “high culture fans” has also increased, they say.

The study looked at 12 cultural activities of which “six correspond to a model of high culture and six to a model of popular culture (such as watching television, listening to the radio or attending a sporting event)”, they explain. According to cultural habits, the Swiss population was classified into three categories: the inactive, the eclectic or cultural “omnivores” and the high culture fans.

The first group “hardly participate in culture, except for television and radio”. The latter “mix very different cultural activities, such as a rock concert and an art museum”, while the third group “engage mainly in high culture and do so in a particularly intensive way”, according to the study.

While level of education influences cultural engagement this does not apply to high culture activities, the authors note. “These are now more age-dependent and have increasingly become the domain of older categories,” they write.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR