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Giving Voice to Language: Basque Language Activism and the Politics of Education in France, 1969-1994

Heidemann, Kai A. (2011) Giving Voice to Language: Basque Language Activism and the Politics of Education in France, 1969-1994. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    Over the past several decades there has been a wellspring of political debate in Europe regarding the rights of linguistic minorities in education. Perhaps nowhere has this transnational debate sparked more controversy than in France where the notion of linguistic rights has been negatively construed by many political authorities as antithetical to the republican model of universal public education. Despite such enmity a host of ethnolinguistic activists in France have been laboring for decades to transform education from a site of exclusion into a vehicle of empowerment. In this dissertation I explore the mobilization dynamics that characterized a minority language schooling initiative within the French Basque Country from 1969 to 1994. Drawing on qualitative case study data, I pay particular attention to the struggles, strategies and successes of Basque language activists affiliated with a community-based schooling association known as 'Seaska'. Building on social movement theory, I argue that Seaska gradually accrued the support of reluctant policy-makers by mobilizing an influential repertoire of discursive, organizational and performative strategies. Throughout my discussion I show how these strategic practices allowed Seaska to cope with an enduring tide of political opposition, seize upon several windows of political opportunity and gain increasing levels of recognition within the political arena. By way of conclusion I consider future avenues for conducting comparative research on minority language activism in educational settings beyond the French Basque context.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairHashimoto, Akikoahash@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberSbragia, Albertasbragia@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberMecchia, Giuseppinamecchia@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberBlee, Kathleenkblee@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberStaggenborg, Suzannesuzstagg@pitt.edu
    Title: Giving Voice to Language: Basque Language Activism and the Politics of Education in France, 1969-1994
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: Over the past several decades there has been a wellspring of political debate in Europe regarding the rights of linguistic minorities in education. Perhaps nowhere has this transnational debate sparked more controversy than in France where the notion of linguistic rights has been negatively construed by many political authorities as antithetical to the republican model of universal public education. Despite such enmity a host of ethnolinguistic activists in France have been laboring for decades to transform education from a site of exclusion into a vehicle of empowerment. In this dissertation I explore the mobilization dynamics that characterized a minority language schooling initiative within the French Basque Country from 1969 to 1994. Drawing on qualitative case study data, I pay particular attention to the struggles, strategies and successes of Basque language activists affiliated with a community-based schooling association known as 'Seaska'. Building on social movement theory, I argue that Seaska gradually accrued the support of reluctant policy-makers by mobilizing an influential repertoire of discursive, organizational and performative strategies. Throughout my discussion I show how these strategic practices allowed Seaska to cope with an enduring tide of political opposition, seize upon several windows of political opportunity and gain increasing levels of recognition within the political arena. By way of conclusion I consider future avenues for conducting comparative research on minority language activism in educational settings beyond the French Basque context.
    Date: 30 January 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 14 October 2010
    Approval Date: 30 January 2011
    Submission Date: 15 October 2010
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-10152010-163939
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Basque; education; France; social movements
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 15:03
    Last Modified: 07 May 2012 14:51
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-10152010-163939/, etd-10152010-163939

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