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The Gellert quarter was traditionally associated with most of Basel's patrician families

Daig (pronounced [dajg]; dt. «Dough») is a term used in the Basel area and in German-speaking Switzerland for those families of the upper class of Basel who have had citizenship for generations . It is a social group that is characterized by pronounced self-delimitation, both downwards (compared to the middle class and the lower class) and sideways (compared to the “new rich”). The social cohesion and the effectiveness of the «Daig» decreased sharply in the second half of the 20th century and are still relevant today, especially from a historical perspective.

History (19th century)

The differentiation of the "Daig" took place particularly in the 19th century under the conditions of industrialization and massive population growth and ran counter to the pressure to modernize. Based on the warlike cantons of 1833 during the regeneration , the conservative patrician upper middle class of Basel developed a distance to the rest of the population, which was often viewed as threatening, which continued into the 20th century. This was all the more likely to happen because, precisely because of the loss of the hinterland, new local elites of rural or petty-bourgeois origin flocked to the city far less than elsewhere as competition, but also as a social link.

In economic terms, the «Daig» was rooted in Basel's early modern economic activities; H. in the wholesale trade and banking as well as in silk ribbon manufacture , which enabled an accumulation of extraordinary wealth until the beginning of the 20th century. The "Daig" got his political home during the formation of the party landscape in the 19th century in the Conservative Party (from 1902 "Liberal Party", today Liberal Democratic Party ), which ruled the city canton politically until the constitutional reform of 1875 and then from Freedom was replaced. In parallel to the political, the «Daig» experienced a loss of economic and social importance up to the First World War as a result of the replacement of the silk ribbon industry by the chemical industry (which was mostly built up and managed by newcomers), through the emergence of joint stock companies and through further social and cultural developments Democratization ; However, it has not completely lost its influence, because the traditional surnames of the «Daig» have been found and are to be found in the dominant public positions, including:

The unity of the old bourgeois, patrician elite was achieved in particular through a targeted marriage policy in which the men mostly married within the "Daig" and ensured the prosperity and social position achieved through the continuity of the clan network; women, on the other hand, often conveyed values ​​to the outside world by marrying into the new “ economic bourgeoisie” and thus contributed to the creation of an expanded upper bourgeoisie with shared values. This included, in particular, the renunciation of wealth in public. The modesty displayed by the "Daig" was due, on the one hand, to Pietism ( Frommes Basel ), which is deeply rooted in society, and, on the other, to the lack of a nobility with exemplary aristocratic display of splendor; The basic consensus of the democracy achieved by the liberal revolution of 1847–1848 also required that the social differences not become too obvious.

The individual families fostered and foster cohesion z. Partly through periodic meetings, so-called family days, and through the establishment of family entails, respectively. Family foundations . The Daig is not a completely isolated class of society. In the 19th century, individual immigrant families found access to this exclusive group through economic success (e.g. the Alioth family ) or through academic achievements ( e.g. the Wackernagel family ).

Rather, social distancing was achieved through the so-called “subtle differences” (in self-perception). Affiliation or exclusion were qualified through unwritten rules in education, consumption and entertainment, through the precise application of manners, customs or even through the use of one's own sociolect , one named after the St. Alban district previously preferred by the «Daig» «Dalbenesisch» designated special form of Basel German . Its connection to the «Daig» is well known. In Swiss film and television, intelligent villains or snobs are often characterized by the use of a patrician Basler dialect in a high voice .

Another kind of distancing is the tradition of the families from the «Daig» to name their letterboxes and door signs, for example in the St. Alban quarter, only with the initials. The unwritten message is: someone who belongs knows who lives here, others don't need to know.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b S Märli vom Daig | barfi.ch. Retrieved November 17, 2017 .

See also