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Author: Subject: Itçaina, Xabier: Cultural Insecurity, Social Change and Territorial Institutionalization Using the Example of the French...
mersiowsky
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[*] posted on 2-17-2018 at 12:46 PM
Itçaina, Xabier: Cultural Insecurity, Social Change and Territorial Institutionalization Using the Example of the French Basque Country


Lětopis Abstract 2017 2: Itçaina, Xabier: Cultural Insecurity, Social Change and Territorial Institutionalization Using the Example of the French Basque Country

The French state is deemed to be reluctant to grant any official recognition and protection of minority and regional languages, in the name of a certain Republican ethos. However, this lack of institutional support from above has been partly compensated for by some local institutional arrangements, which created new conditions for a certain recognition of regional languages. The French Basque Country illustrates well this paradoxical situation. Since the early 1990s, new institutions were set up at the territorial level for Basque language and culture. In 2005, the process of institutionalization took a step forward with the distinction between cultural and linguistic policy and the foundation of the Public Office for the Basque language. These institutions resulted from compromises between the state, local elected officials and linguistic movements. A key factor here was the cross-border influence of the Spanish Basque language policy model that was used repeatedly by French Basque language activists in their negotiation with the state and with local policy-makers. This emerging linguistic policy had some measurable effects on language revitalization, with a slight increase in language proficiency among the youngest generations after 2006. However, the social use of the Basque language (in the family sphere, in public services, at work) kept on declining. This paper will concentrate on the political and normative debate raised around the social use of the Basque language in France. Special attention will be paid to the use of Euskera in the economy, and to articulating the debate between the linguistic controversy and the competing local development models.



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