Language, Elites, and the State: Nationalism in Puerto Rico and Quebec

Overview

For decades the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and the Canadian province of Quebec have been riveted by the politics of nationalism, the question of their final status, and the protection of their local languages. In the name of cultural defense, the legislatures in San Juan and Quebec City have passed several laws focusing on protecting the vernacular. Barreto explores these two cases and challenges some general preconceived notions about nationalist movements.

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Overview

For decades the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and the Canadian province of Quebec have been riveted by the politics of nationalism, the question of their final status, and the protection of their local languages. In the name of cultural defense, the legislatures in San Juan and Quebec City have passed several laws focusing on protecting the vernacular. Barreto explores these two cases and challenges some general preconceived notions about nationalist movements.

A common premise in ethnic conflict studies is that nationalism is caused by cultural traits, such as language or religion, or is a result of a region's subservient economic role vis-à-vis the country's core. However, Barreto contends that Puerto Rican and Québécois elites turned to nationalism in reaction to their social marginalization and economic suppression. Anglophone elites in the U.S. and Canada established a hegemonic order making English a requirement for social and economic ascendancy. Shunned by the country's dominant group on account of their language, elites in Puerto Rico and Quebec took up the banner of nationalism attempting to establish a counter-hegemonic order. Thus, nationalism, Barreto contends, is an unanticipated reaction to the exclusionary attitudes and policies of one group against another. This analysis is important to political scientists, social scientists, and researchers involved with nationalism, ethnic conflict, and Puerto Rican and Canadian studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores culturalist views of nationalism, hegemony, the relationship of language elitism to nationalism, language and the American identity, the evolution of Puerto Rican identity and nationalism, Quebec's distinct society and nationalism, the defense of the Spanish language in Puerto Rico's territorial government, and the Quebec National Assembly and the promotion of French. Focuses on the need for intelligent policy in Washington and Ottawa based on an understanding of the roots of nationalism on the linguistic periphery of the English speaking civilization in North America. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275961831
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

AMILCAR A. BARRETO is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Conflicting Approaches to the Study of Nationalism 13
3 Language and Elites 31
4 Language and American Identity 47
5 Canada and the King's English 63
6 The Evolution of Puerto Rican Identity and Nationalism 77
7 Quebec's Distinct Society and Nationalism 97
8 Defending Spanish in Puerto Rico's Territorial Government 115
9 The Quebec National Assembly and the Promotion of French 129
10 Conclusion 141
Bibliography 149
Index 159
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