Volume 17 (2011) / Issue 1
Questions of language are questions of power. Legal policy decisions on minority languages reflect concrete ethno-national political struggles, which use culture as a platform. They also reflect a global policy shift towards multiculturalism, which legitimizes diversity. Choices in the key parameters of territoriality, recognition, institutional scope, and obligations for newcomers balance competing interests of majority and minority individuals while pursuing the stability of state structures. European regional standards offer a menu of options for this end. A comparison of the cases of Spain, where Basque, Galician, and Catalan enjoy territorially defined co-officialdom, Bolivia, where a constitutional reform has entrenched indigenous language rights, and the mixed case of Finland, where minorities and indigenous peoples enjoy protection, demonstrate the need for complex arrangements to address historical and cultural specificities. It also exposes the vulnerability of migrants and weaker minorities not mobilized in ethno-national terms.
Sharp nostalgia, infinite and terrible, for what I already possess.
Juán Ramón Jiménez
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