This section addresses a number of topics that relate to the history of social security in Switzerland and concern all stakeholders and institutions. As regards terminology, ‘social security’ is one of several competing terms including ‘social insurance’, the ‘social state’ and ‘welfare state’ – each carrying a specific meaning depending on the national context. Key topics also encompass overarching institutions that have played a key role in shaping social security in Switzerland, such as the traditions of federalism and direct democracy as well as international organizations active in the field of social policy.