The Social, Political and Cultural History of an International Prestige Language
9. Francophonies in Spain
In the eyes of our research group,1 ‘francophonie’ seems a notion that is both foreign and too close to home. This may be because it takes us back to Hispanidad [Spanishness], an idea originally linked to a race, then to a religion, Catholicism, and finally to a political definition which made Spain a ‘unit of universal destiny’ during a dictatorship over the period 1939–76. The two notions, ‘francophonie’ and ‘Hispanidad’, were created in the midst of the decolonization period in order to safeguard commercial or diplomatic links and, as the cause required, cultural links as well among peoples who spoke a common language (Spanish or French) and in the face of the growing influence of anglophone cultures.2
Our mistrust of the conception of francophone countries as countries ‘sharing the use of French and respect for universal values’3 comes from our wariness of a specific vision of people as being associated with a history, a ← 239 | 240 → culture and a language, in this instance French,4 for we know very well how dangerous this ideology can become. The identification of the Castilian language with a national conception, imperial and Catholic, gave rise some decades ago to firing squads and four centuries ago it launched genocides.
At the same time we could welcome new institutional strategies which seek, on the one hand, to promote the defence of French together with other languages, in the name of politically correct linguistic diversity, rather than in opposition to them...
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