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Negotiating Linguistic, Cultural and Social Identities in the Post-Soviet World

Edited By Sarah Smyth and Conny Opitz

In this volume, researchers in the fields of language in society, sociolinguistics, language politics, diaspora and identity studies explore the contacts between languages and cultures in the post-Soviet world. The book presents a range of perspectives on the effects of migration and of re-drawing of borders among groups and individuals for whom the Russian language has had an instrumental or symbolic prominence. How do recent geopolitical shifts impact on the policies and practices of newly independent states? How have communities and individuals come to redefine their own identities and core values? How does a cultural context in which the power relations between cultural and linguistic groups have been reversed or recalibrated affect the attitudes of each group? How does the potential for transnational identities impact on the interplay between diasporic and homeland communities? How does migration influence linguistic and parenting practices? This collection of fers answers to these and many other questions through case studies from eleven regions in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.


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We would like to start by thanking Christabel Scaife who encouraged this project from the very outset and provided support and guidance through- out. We would also like to thank the members of the Our Languages ‘team’ – Svetlana Eriksson, Feargus Denman, Olga Johnston and Olga Lauraitis – for their constant good cheer, their unfaltering availability and their will- ingness to exchange ideas in a spirit of unthreatening, but challenging, dialogue. The book is what it is because of the engagement and commit- ment of all the contributors. To them we owe the biggest debt of gratitude. We wish to express our gratitude for their patience, forbearance and good will throughout the lengthy process of preparing the volume for publica- tion. Thanks to Li Wei for reading the manuscript, for his encouragement and helpful feedback. We are grateful to Esther Ní Dhonnacha for her meticulous copy editing and to colleagues in and associated with Peter Lang, Gemma Lewis and Mette Bundgaard, for their valuable help with the final stages of the book. We are also grateful for the research support of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (G31088). We accept full responsibility for any errors or weaknesses that remain. —Sarah Smyth and Conny Opitz

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