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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. (Unpublished)

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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
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Heidemann, Kai
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHashimoto, Akikoahash@pitt.eduAHASH
Committee MemberSbragia, Albertasbragia@pitt.eduSBRAGIA
Committee MemberMecchia, Giuseppinamecchia@pitt.eduMECCHIA
Committee MemberBlee, Kathleenkblee@pitt.eduKBLEE
Committee MemberStaggenborg, Suzannesuzstagg@pitt.eduSUZSTAGG
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; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Basque; education; France; social movements
Other ID:, etd-10152010-163939
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:03
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:50


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