Table Of Content
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- List of Contributors
- Preface: Greetings from the Secretary of State
- Some Reflections on the Issue of Minorities: A Personal Roadmap
- Introduction: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Cultural Security in Minority Studies
- Part I Institutional Dimension
- 1 Reducing Cultural Insecurity among the Sorbs in Germany after 1945: The Significance of Legislation in Saxony and Brandenburg
- 2 The Importance of Cultural Institutions for Romanian Germans
- 3 Active Offer as a Norm for Public Services Delivery: A Path Toward Inclusion and Security for French-Language Minority Communities in Canada
- Part II Territorial Dimension
- 4 Revitalization of Indigenous Political Cultures through Locally-Governed Protected Areas: The Case of Masko Cimakanic Aski
- 5 Cultural Insecurity, Social Change and Territorial Institutionalization: The Case of the French Basque Country
- 6 Tragedy of Rehabilitation: The Land Issue of Tibetans in India
- 7 Cultural Security in Post-mining Landscapes: The Case of the Sorbs in Middle Lusatia
- Part III State Stability
- 8 Cultural Security in Tibet and the Example of Quebec
- 9 Cultural Security and Economic Development in China’s West
- 10 The Reunification of Canada’s Indigenous Nations: Political Power and Cultural Identity
- Part IV Patterns of Collective Identification
- 11 Language Practices of Young Adults from Four Linguistic Minorities: Between Assimilation and Activism
- 12 Memories, Large-Group Identity and Political Participation: The Case of the Carinthian Slovenes
- 13 Between Spanish and Catalan Nation-Building: The Pursuit of Cultural Security in the Valencian Country
- Part V Participatory Dimension
- 14 Parental Agency: Language Planning among Indigenous Families in Bolivia
- 15 The Sorbs in Germany: Cultural Practices and Cultural Security
- 16 Switzerland, a Language-Unfriendly Country? From Namelessness to Revitalization: The Long Journey of Francoprovençal
- 17 “Scope” of Linguistic Resources and the Social Participation of the Ukrainian Population in the Republic of Moldova
- Series Titles
Laurie Camirand Lemyre
Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada)
Sorbian Institute, Bautzen (Germany), Chaire de recherche du Canada en études québécoises et canadiennes, Montreal (Canada)
Institute of Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Saxon State Ministry for Science and Arts (Germany)
A. Tom Grunfeld
Empire State College, State University of New York
Andreas Gruschke (†)
Institute of Social Development and Western China Development Studies, Sichuan University (China)
Chaire de recherche du Canada en études québcoises et canadiennes, Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada)
China Center for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Sichuan University (China)
Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Centre Émile Durkheim, Sciences Po Bordeaux (France) and Institute of Cooperative Law and Social Economy, University of the Basque Country (Spain)
Sorbian Institute, Bautzen (Germany)
Sorbian Institute, Bautzen (Germany)←13 | 14→
Sorbian Institute, Bautzen (Germany)
Chaire de recherche du Canada en études québécoises et canadiennes, Montreal (Canada)
Université de Montréal (Canada)
University of Ottawa (Canada)
Sorbian Institute, Bautzen (Germany)
Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Cochabamba (Bolivia)
University of Applied Police Sciences, Rothenburg (Germany)
Chaire de recherche du Canada en études québécoises et canadiennes, Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada)
Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
University College of Teacher Education, Klagenfurt (Austria)
Greetings from the Secretary of State1
Distinguished members of the Canada Research Chair in Quebec and Canadian Studies,
Distinguished members of the Institute of Social Development and Western China Development Studies at the Sichuan University in Chengdu, China,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Sorbian Institute’s International Minorities Conference “Dimensions of Cultural Security for Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities.” I am pleased that you came from near and far to meet here for the first time in Saxony, in the land of the Sorbs and in the beautiful, historical city of Bautzen. I am delighted to welcome you today at the start of the conference. And I am sure that Bautzen will give you wonderful impressions of the uniqueness of Sorbian culture in Saxony – the culture of a minority. We are proud that the Sorbs are a constituent part of Saxony and enrich us with their language and culture.←15 | 16→
Today’s conference will focus on minorities and “cultural security.” As the researchers from the Sorbian Institute have demonstrated, this can be seen from two perspectives. First, from an external view, the larger society can provide national and linguistic minorities with institutional and societal possibilities for their further development, for example through appropriate legislation and institutions, so that minority language and culture can flourish. This is where direct politics are called for and we, in the Free State of Saxony, are doing a lot to contribute to the development of a cultural sense of security among the Sorbian minority. This is done first and foremost through the political and legal framework, and especially through the rights of the Sorbs that have been enshrined in section 6 of our Saxon Constitution. It states: “Citizens of Sorbian nationality living in the Land are equal in rights and are an integral part of the people of the Land [Staatsvolk]. The Land guarantees and protects the right to preserve their identity, and to practice and promote their language, culture and traditions, in particular through schools, pre-school facilities and cultural institutions.”
In addition, the Saxon Sorbs Act of 19992 recognizes the right to Sorbian identity, the protection and preservation of the Sorbian ancestral homeland as well as the freedom of confession of the Sorbian people. We make sure that Sorbian representatives are adequately present in political structures at all levels, from the municipal level up to the institutions of the regional state (Land). The ministry I represent has its own representative for Sorbian affairs.
A second, internal perspective focuses on both the conditions for socio-cultural inclusion and identity processes unfolding within a minority community, starting with individual members. It raises concrete questions in relation to a common sense of cultural security, tries to understand people’s needs and looks for the motivation that drives minority members to engage in cultural activities and political participation on behalf of a self-confident minority.
In 2012, the Saxon State Ministry for Science and Arts, together with the Council for Sorbian Affairs,3 presented a Saxon State Government’s Plan of Measures to Encourage and Invigorate the Use of Sorbian Languages. You will certainly know this from your own work on national or linguistic minorities living in your respective countries: such encouragements are of great importance in order to create a sense of security among members of minorities. Language use is in itself the expression of a sense of security, the expression of a social climate in which multilingualism and cultural otherness are lived and become a matter of fact.←16 | 17→
At this conference, you will attempt to bring together both perspectives: through the interdisciplinary exchange of political and cultural scientists, historians, anthropologists, linguists and geographers; and by comparing the experiences of various minorities from four continents. I wish you many inspiring and fruitful results!
At this point, I need to come back to Bautzen, the city where you will now spend the next few days. The name of this city, like that of other Saxon cities, has been mentioned in the media in the past few months in relation with the public debate on refugee and xenophobic violence. The Minister of State for Science and Arts, Madam Eva-Maria Stange and I condemn all forms of violence against refugees in our country. We cannot close our eyes on the attacks on Sorbian youths by right-minded extremists that have increased in the last two years and hit the headlines in the major German daily newspapers. Nor will we forget the many courageous people who oppose xenophobia and violence in this city. Media reports come out daily about these brave people who live in every Saxon city.
On the occasion of this conference, you will also demonstrate how cultural differences can be considered and discussed, how one can practice intercultural dialogue, and how important it is to consider fears and needs seriously. This will take place in a city with a thousand-year history of German-Sorbian interactions. Bautzen is a wonderful example of a city that has been living multi-culturally for centuries, in which minority culture is naturally present: through bilingual signage, through various community institutions such as the Sorbian Institute, the German-Sorbian Popular Theater, kindergartens and schools with an option for schooling in the Sorbian language, a publishing house, a professional folklore ensemble and the Sorbian Museum.4←17 | 18→
More than twenty lectures await the participants of this conference. They will deal with different dimensions of cultural security, such as state stability, minority rights and institutions, the various modes of collective identification, cultural practices, language activities or territorial aspects of minority life. Research and experiences from Germany, Canada and China, France, Austria and Bolivia will be presented and discussed. We hope that the guests will feel comfortable and safe, that this will leave them with long lasting experiences and memories and that they will leave us with important discoveries so that we may continue to shape and improve minority policy in a constructive way, in its many areas of application.
1 Speech delivered in German on November 17, 2016, in the House of Sorbs (Serbski Dom). Translation by Jean-Rémi Carbonneau and Fabian Jacobs.
2 Act on the Sorbs’ Rights in the Free State of Saxony, promulgated on March 31, 1999. All footnotes were added to the speech by the editors of the book.
3 According to section 6 of the Sorbs Act, the Sorbs can represent their interests before the Saxon government and parliament through a five-member Council for Sorbian Affairs, which is elected by parliament in each legislature.
4 These institutions are financed by the federal government and the states of Saxony and Brandenburg, where the Sorbian minority is historically established. Most of the Sorbian community institutions have their seat in the city of Bautzen.
Some Reflections on the Issue of Minorities
A Personal Roadmap1
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished guests and colleagues,
And all you, dear friends from far and near who do appreciate and are concerned with minority issues
Dobry wječor, lubi hosco!
It is with great pleasure that I stand before you as the one who has been designated the “honoured guest speaker” for this event. Let me consider the word literally and reply: it is an honour for me to stand before you tonight, before such a gathering of experts and specialists from all over the world. You all have to deal with our complex world of sovereign states and how they manage the question of minorities within their borders. Such a delicate question has become more controversial and more complex in recent years.←19 | 20→
And I wish to thank you and the organizers of this conference, who made it happen here in Bautzen/Budyšin. First and foremost, because this city is the capital of the most important autonomous national minority in Germany, the Sorbs of Upper Lusatia. And secondly, you have set a mark, by organizing this symposium, for all those here in the city of Bautzen, who believe in tolerance and liberal values. This is especially true since we have recently witnessed well-publicized, xenophobic incidents against Syrian refugees, carried out by right-wing extremists.2 Tolerance and liberal values are also essential values for the lives and survival of minorities as well as for the lives and survival of civilized societies. This had already been identified by Voltaire in 1763 in his Traité sur la tolérance, in which he raised the principle of tolerance to the status of a universal principle that should rule our world. Incidentally, in his mind, this included the protection of religious minorities in France, namely the Protestants and Huguenots, who, at the time, were persecuted. Who could have imagined, two decades ago, as the whole of Europe was reunited on the path to democracy that we would have to, once again, fiercely defend those values, even here in the city of Bautzen. But then again, who would have thought that Voltaire’s treatise on the importance of tolerance would once again end up on the bestsellers list?
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues, a few months ago as Monsieur Carbonneau invited me to give this speech to the conference, I was tormented with a very existential dilemma. Try to understand my anguish: on this same evening, I should have been the master of ceremony for one of those gastronomic minorities, more specifically the Friends of the Beaujolais wine in Saxony. The Ordre des compagnons du Beaujolais, to which I belong, celebrates today, and every year on the third Thursday of November, the arrival of the Beaujolais nouveau. This is done throughout Europe and beyond, in North America and all the way to China, and is also a way of opening oneself to the world!←20 | 21→
As I accepted Monsieur Carbonneau’s invitation and renounced a nice evening spent drinking wine, my mind played a dirty trick on me and left me trying to decipher a logical fallacy – in the best tradition of the Surrealists – on how to connect and reflect on both wine and minorities. In fact, what links both subjects is the apparent ease in recognizing and naming them as such. What also links them is the sheer number and high visibility of the forms they take. Who has ever done a full count of the wines and minorities on this planet? But if one was ever to undertake such a compilation, he would be faced with a problem of selection. What constitutes wine? But then again, what constitutes a minority? In the case of wine, a solution has been to allow a high degree of dissidence. You simply drink a glass and out comes the truth. As they say: In vino veritas. Such a simple solution cannot be applied to the question of minorities. This approach cannot be used in the case of minority communities.
Seriously: in the case of minorities, dissidence has led to more than enough evictions and displacements of populations, armed violence and infamous actions. I’m thinking more specifically about Germany’s parliamentary resolution (of the Bundestag) on the Armenian genocide adopted in June 2016.3 But who remembers and cares about the extermination of the minority people of Buryatia in the Mongolian Soviet Republic? (Bulag, 1998, pp. 81–89; Namsaraeva, 2017) These are just two examples among many. Who could have imagined that two decades after the end of the Cold War between East and West – and which engulfed Europe in a wave of democratic euphoria – that savage civil wars between the national minorities of south-eastern Europe would arise again? Or that a Russian President, after having marched and taken over Crimea, would declare his people to be the largest people scattered on the globe? That the subject of ethnic minorities, and not only in eastern Ukraine, would become the new warning, a sign of things to come in Eastern Europe? And who has the time or the inclination to worry about the long-bullied Tartars of Crimea in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?←21 | 22→
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues, today specialists are still trying to come up with a definition of what constitutes a minority. Both editors of an anthology published in 2004 with the title The Rights of National Minorities expressed it this way: “The definition of what constitutes minorities has to be put the larger context of the long-discussed question of minority rights” (Bielefeldt & Luer, 2004, p. 8). And when I consider the scope and variety of topics on minorities covered during this symposium, then I could well imagine that the competent experts gathered here probably had difficulty arriving at a consensus. They certainly spent the whole night on their position and were able to reach a compromise in the early morning hours. Or just think of the academic – or then again, of the political – disputes on the distinctions that have arisen on national minorities and minority nations. And that other important one: when does a minority become a people or a nation? And what does cultural security actually mean in this context? It looks to me like one would be opening a Pandora’s Box without a definite solution!
But I will not go down this path tonight. As for myself, who is in no way considered a specialist on these questions, I would like to venture my own somewhat bemused interjection. In the programme here, you talk of ethnic and linguistic minorities. So far so good, and how very important! But why did no one mention any religious minorities? Please allow me a critical yet sympathetic tongue-in-cheek statement. Of course, one could reply, there are very well defined religious national minorities. Think only of the Muslim Bosnians living in the Balkans. Or of the lesser-known Buddhist Kalmuck minority, who lived in the Western part of Russia, just to mention two examples among many. And we should not forget another important aspect: in the Ottoman Empire and later in Yugoslavia, more specifically in Bosnia and Herzegovina, religion was used as a criterion to differentiate nationalities and thus national minorities. It is generally admitted that this differentiation is still being used today.
Let us also not forget the significance that religion has played in Northern Ireland, where the Catholic portion of the population was being oppressed, which led to a bloody civil war that lasted decades. Many of the subjects this conference has tried to tackle were concerned with minorities whose religions or denominations served as the basis for their identity-building, and are an important part of their cultural character. Think only of Tibet, which was discussed in panel discussions this morning, as well as Quebec and other francophone minorities in North America. And I ask you: What would the Tibetan identity be without their Buddhist belief system, which prior to the occupation of Tibet by the Peoples Republic of China in 1950, was even the state religion? And what do most Upper Sorbs have in common with the old French Canadians of North America and with the people of Saxony’s French Partner region, the traditional Bretagne? For all these, their Catholic faith was part of their identity and played a major role in preserving their respective identities. While Protestant Sorbs largely assimilated, the Catholic Sorbs, just as the Catholic French Canadians, Acadians and Bretons (the latter having been restricted in the use of their language until the middle of the twentieth century) remained true to their native tongue. For the Brezhoneg people (Bretons), their resistance was for the use of the Celtic language and they defied the pressures of French assimilation for a long time.←22 | 23→
In all these cases, it was historically the clergy – for different reasons – who turned out to be the pugnacious keepers of the faith and defenders of their respective mother tongue and cultural identity. The history of many minorities is intimately bound up with their religion, the discrimination, persecution or even destruction they faced. The fate of European Jews or of Christian Armenians is a dark illustration of this assessment. Therefore, it is easy to understand – just as theologian Konrad Hilpert wrote – that “religion apparently […] [had belonged] up to now, to the preferred elements which impart the newly and difficult to define category of what constitutes minority status and confer it a comprehensive and substantial importance. At least, they conform to a border line between a minority and a majority. And in many cases, it creates a link with the members of the respective different religious groups. We may infer from this that religion is a factor in majority versus minority conflicts and it can play a definite extensive role” (Hilpert, 2004, p. 57).
It is therefore no coincidence that the beginnings of minority rights in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire are to be found in early religious protection provisions. In Europe, they go back to the sixteenth century and will then come to the forefront in the nineteenth century, the century of national revivals. To expand on this subject even more, as would be logical, would be to dissect the famous Procedures for the Protection of Minorities launched by the League of Nations in 1919, with which the victorious powers wished to reconfigure the minority puzzle that had emerged in Europe from the ruins of the First World War. This topic alone would mean another extra day of discussion. Even that would only cover half of the question because it would not even include the new initiatives undertaken since 1945 for minority protection as understood in international law.←23 | 24→
At this stage, I had arrived at the dilemma which Monsieur Carbonneau’s invitation brought me to here tonight. You, dear colleagues, have heard and debated the papers and technical lectures about subjects as diverse as Tibet, Quebec, Indigenous First Nations, French Canadian minorities and the Sorbs. And I, myself, have experienced well enough the mood of elation that many highly motivated conference participants bring. And then, after a very long day, the evening keynote speaker appears at the lectern, stands within hearing range and can see the glasses of the wine being poured in his honor. So, I will avoid an attempt to make it easy for myself and take out my old unpublished manuscript from 1971 on the procedure for the protection of national minorities under the League of Nations after the First World War. Had I been a Sorb, maybe I would have even prepared a hopefully humorous speech on how our culture has been reduced to a folklore and become a sheer trivialization (but which I nonetheless highly appreciate). But then again, I am not a Sorb. For the rest of my speech, I would rather walk you through a very personal roadmap. Think of it as my own unscientific encounter with national minorities, more specifically with those that we identify as minority nations. This meeting alone will serve to illustrate how difficult it is to reduce these minorities to a common denominator. Such a roadmap is an unusual experiment, which up to now I have never tried. I hope we will all survive tonight’s experiment.←24 | 25→
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues, we are all born where we see the light of day and this is a fortuitous event. And it is always chance that decides whether we become members of a so-called majority or of a so-called minority. Someone like me could have become a citizen of Denmark or a member of the German minority of Denmark or still, a member of the Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein. This potential relativity of my North German identity accompanied me throughout my younger years, because I grew up within visual range of the Danish occupation soldiers. In school, we would sell cards to support German minority politicians in Denmark and then saw them appear on election posters for a Danish political party at the exact location where a once long border struggle between Germans and Danes occurred, and where the Nazi occupation of Denmark left deep wounds. At that same site, a nationalist Danish movement remained active in the post-war era and demanded the annexation of Schleswig to Denmark. But it was also there, in the mid-1950s, that an exemplary peaceful European resolution of the German-Danish minority question was finally arrived at. Thus, the infamous “Schleswig-Holstein Question,”4 which had led to three European wars in the nineteenth century, was settled. Let us recall: The first Schleswig War, from 1848 to 1851, between German Schleswig-Holsteiners and Danish nationalists involved even Prussian and Swedish troops; the second war, 1864, involved Prussia and Austria who fought against Denmark. The third one involved Prussia and its Allies against Austria in 1866 and thus closed the book with a military solution to the national German question.
But let us go back to my biography and what I experienced at the time. Already, at the end of the 1950s, I understood that the German-Danish minority question was an integral part of the new European good neighborly relationship. The latter was embedded into the federal system of the young Federal Republic of Germany and the new West-European general peace framework. On both sides of the border a new type of national linguistic minority developed, which had at its disposal a linguistic mother nation (kin state) to which it could refer to beyond the border. In the end, this expressed itself without any bias or predisposition to irredentism,5 but with a loyal integration to the host country.
A few minutes ago, I mentioned the terms dissidence and armed violence. I was a 12-year-old boy and had begun – somewhat untypical for a boy this age – to read a daily newspaper. In the year 1959, I read about the outbreak of the Tibetan rebellion in China, about the flight into exile of the fourteenth Dalai Lama in India, about the Tibetan calls for independence and about the violent crushing of the insurrection by the Chinese military. At this point of the evening, I in no way want to start a debate about the still controversial and valid question of the Autonomous Region of Tibet.6 But I would be lying if I did not say that these early memories of Tibet still represent for me the first and most painful confrontation with the question of national minorities.←25 | 26→
For my next encounter with a so-called national minority, I was still naive, but this time around, I was confronted with a more concrete case – with another people who had been included in another country against its own will. In the mid-1960s, I took a school-trip to the German-speaking area of South Tyrol (or Trentino-Alto Adige to the Italians). In the countryside just outside the city of Bolzano, I was confronted with the South Tyrol question, which had been simmering since 1919. Deep scars had been left in the area by the brutal oppression of the German-speaking population, which had been separated from Austria in 1919, and had been discriminated against by Italian fascism and by Hitler’s large resettlement policy of repatriating German speakers back into the Reich (and whose fate was sealed by the Hitler-Mussolini Accord). After the war, South Tyrol remained within Italy, although politics did not stop the process of denationalization. Through it all, a treaty was signed in 1947 between Italy and Austria which laid the corner stone for the survival of the inhabitants of South Tyrol in a foreign state. Rolf Steiniger, the German-Austrian historian commented on this: “This ‘Paris Convention’ can be considered as the ‘Magna Carta’ of South Tyrol and – more importantly – an integral part of the Peace Accord signed in 1947 between Italy and the Allied Powers. Unlike in the 1920s, where the whole South Tyrol question was an internal Italian problem, it now became an international issue, resolved with Austria as one of the ‘guarantors’ ” (2011, p. 208).
At this point, I have to skip a few comments and shall move forward. This attempt at a personal roadmap is based on my own particular impressions. And as part of these observations, I visited South Tyrol at the time when explosive attacks by local activists, claiming to be fighting for their freedom, occurred on a regular basis. The latter were subsequently brought to court in what were then spectacular trials. On the one hand, some called them freedom fighters, others, terrorists. I still remember meeting and plotting with South Tyrol youths claiming to be freedom fighters and feeling themselves to be like the historical Tyrolean military hero Andreas Hofer.7 And all of this was happening in Western Europe! This lasted until 1972 where all participants accepted an agreement on an autonomy status for the region. The conflict was settled once and for all in 1992, when it was put to rest with an agreement between Austria and Italy, under the auspices of the United Nations. What was never mentioned was that, as a precondition for this accord, Italy would not vote for Austria’s entry in the European Union without a formal declaration on the end of the South Tyrol question. We can now speak of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol as a prime example of how a minority should be treated.←26 | 27→
Moving ahead, to 1967, just two years after my South Tyrol excursions, I had the opportunity to go to a French-German summer camp for young people. We were in the countryside, in a little village in Corsica. Back then, in my France and Paris enthusiasm, I had only known one France: a France that spoke only French, the language in which Molière wrote and expressed himself. But there, I met people who called themselves Corsicans and who even reluctantly spoke French. They even turned militant against France and the continent, because they wanted the Populu Corsu (Corsican nation) to be officially recognized. I later understood this complex set of problems as the old men of the village offered me a few glasses of wine and flattered me by making me a corsu d’onore. France, which still considers itself today as a République une et indivisible, in no way recognizes any collective national minorities on its territory. For instance, a concept like a people within a people, which has been included since 1992 in the Constitution of Saxony,8 has not found an equivalence in France.
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- Publication date
- 2021 (May)
- Bruxelles, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 512 pp., 9 fig. b/w, 6 tables.