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Dimensions of Cultural Security for National and Linguistic Minorities

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Edited By Jean-Rémi Carbonneau, Fabian Jacobs and Ines Keller

Cultural security is a basic need for individuals belonging to national and linguistic minorities. Structurally exposed to asymmetric power dynamics, these minorities compete with the larger society for material and non-material resources, rendering their future perspectives particularly precarious. This book brings researchers from different social sciences together to examine the notion of cultural security and its meaning for different national and linguistic minorities through multiple case studies in Europe, Asia, North and South America. The cultural security of these minorities comprises various dimensions, including institutional and territorial arrangements, state stability, as well as different patterns of citizen belonging and participation. Through the prism of these dimensions, the contributors to this book present a variety of strategies of cultural resilience, societal structures and institutional frameworks allowing national and linguistic minorities to secure a certain degree of cultural autonomy and develop a sense of belonging to their respective states. Cultural security is an inescapable condition for the fair and sustained development of both minorities and majorities in today’s societies characterized by deep diversity.

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8 Cultural Security in Tibet and the Example of Quebec

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A. TOM GRUNFELD

Abstract: Ruling elites universally aspire to social stability. Their goal is to make minorities loyal citizens to the state. This is especially true in China where the ruling elites fear disorder and the breakup of the country to an inordinate degree, making the issue of minority loyalty of particular prominence. Tibet was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1950 and for more than 70 years the central government has struggled with how to best achieve these goals of stability and inclusion. From the 1990s onward the central government’s policy has been to win the loyalty of Tibetans primarily through economic means. To that end, tens of billions of yuan have been poured into the region, physically transforming it while a prosperous nascent Tibetan middle class has emerged. Yet, tension between Tibetans and ethnic Chinese (Han) increases due to official intervention in cultural matters, particularly in language instruction and the Tibetan Buddhist religion. Since Xi Jinping became the leader in 2012 the policy has, for the first time, become one of assimilation and the curtailment of language and religion. This chapter examines the situation in Tibet emphasizing the lack of cultural security before the most recent policies. As a contrast it also looks at the province of Quebec in Canada where reassurances and concrete policies guaranteeing local culture have successively led to stability and overall loyalty to the Canadian federation.

Keywords: China, Tibet, Quebec, cultural security, state stability, loyal citizens.

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