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2008 Choice Academic Outstanding Title Winner!
In this provocative and ground-breaking book, Stephen May argues for a non-essentialist understanding of language rights, while at the same time outlining why language rights, particularly for minority groups, are defensible and important, both academically and politically. May argues that the causes of many of the language-based conflicts in the world today lie with the nation-state and its preoccupation with establishing a 'common' language and culture via mass education. The solution, he suggests, is to rethink nation-states in more culturally and linguistically plural ways while avoiding, at the same time, essentialising the language-identity link.
Language and Minority Rights — a benchmark volume in the field of language rights and language policy — is an outstanding interdisciplinary analysis which draws together debates on language from widely different academic fields, including the sociology of language, ethnicity and nationalism, sociolinguistics, social and political theory, education, history and law, illustrating these debates via a wealth of different national contexts and examples. It is essential reading for students, teachers and researchers in the sociology of language, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, language policy and planning, sociology, politics, and education.
@contents: Preface xii. Introduction. Language loss: a question of biology or power? Nation-states, nationalism and nation-state congruence. Nationalism, ethnicity and language. Overview. Prospects for change. The denunciation of ethnicity. Academic denunciations of ethnicity. The academic rehabilitation of ethnicity? Ethnicity and modernity. Ethnicity as primordial. Situational ethnicity. Instrumental ethnicity. Hybridity: the postmodernist politics of identity. Limits to the social construction of ethnicity. Finding common ground ? ethnicity as habitus. Ethnies. Nationalism and its discontents. Linguistic nationalism. The will to nationhood. The modern nation. The modernists. Limits of the modernist account. Ethnicist approaches to nationalism. Dominant ethnies. The construction of sociological minorities. Liberal theory, multiculturalism and minority rights. The pluralist dilemma. Defending liberal democracy. Critiquing liberal democracy. Rethinking liberal democracy. Language, identity and minority rights. Language and identity. Identity in language. Language and culture. Language, culture and politics. Language decline: the death of Irish? Language revival: flogging a dead horse? Reevaluating language shift. Linguistic markets and symbolic violence. Vive la France: the construction of la langue légitime. Legitimating and institutionalizing minority languages. Language, education and minority rights. Educating for the majority. Educating for the minority. Minority-group responses to language-education policies. Bridging the gap between policy and practice. Minority-language and education rights in international law. The crux of majority opinion. English hegemony and its critics: North American debates. Rule Britannia: English in the ascendant. ‘Doesn't anyone speak English around here?’: the US ‘English Only’ Movement. Contrasting Quebec. A question of (ethnolinguistic) democracy. Extending ethnolinguistic democracy in Europe. A multilingual European Union? Catalonia: the quest for political and linguistic autonomy. Wales: the development of a bilingual state in a ‘forgotten’ nation. Indigenous rights: self-determination, language and education. Indigenous peoples, self-determination and international law. Indigenous peoples and national law. Indigenous language and education rights. Aotearoa / New Zealand: a tale of two ethnicities. Zealand. Reo and Kura Kaupapa Maori. Minority languages and the nation-state. Addressing constructivism. Moving forward: from principles to practice. Notes. Bibliography. Index.