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LINGUIST List 18.1564

Tue May 22 2007

Diss: Socioling: Fleischer: 'The Politics of Language in Quebec: La...'

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        1.    Astrid Fleischer, The Politics of Language in Quebec: Language Policy and Language Ideologies in a Pluriethnic Society


Message 1: The Politics of Language in Quebec: Language Policy and Language Ideologies in a Pluriethnic Society
Date: 21-May-2007
From: Astrid Fleischer <fleischageorgetown.edu>
Subject: The Politics of Language in Quebec: Language Policy and Language Ideologies in a Pluriethnic Society


Institution: Georgetown University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Astrid Alkistis Fleischer

Dissertation Title: The Politics of Language in Quebec: Language Policy and Language Ideologies in a Pluriethnic Society

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Ralph W. Fasold
Monica Heller

Dissertation Abstract:

The language question has been a major topic of debate in Quebec since the
1960s. This study examines the politics of language in light of the
increasing diversity of Quebec society, focussing on the state discourses
on language policy and planning during the last two terms of the Parti
québécois (PQ) government (September 1994 - April 2003) and the reactions
these discourses have produced. Based on an integrated analysis of
government documents and archival data, the study explores the connection
between language policy, language ideologies, and broader sociopolitical
developments in Quebec, particularly in the pluriethnic Montreal
metropolitan region.

The Quebec state tried to institute a discursive shift from an ethnic to a
civic nationalism after the 1995 referendum on sovereignty. This civic
nationalism no longer defines itself as a French-Canadian nationalism, but
as a nationalism for all Quebecers. The Quebec state managed to institute
this discursive shift but under conditions of contestation. This thesis
explores the Quebec state's struggles with the ideological legitimacy of
its language policy caught between the ethnolinguistic nationalism that was
the original foundation for legitimacy of the state and its policies and
the contradictions this has in a state that is trying to be open,
inclusive, and democratic. Some particularly revealing moments when this
tension becomes evident are examined. The thesis is, then, about the
struggles, the contradictions between ethnolinguistic minority nationalism
and inclusive democracy in a pluriethnic society.

The study helps us understand the role played by language ideologies in
more general sociopolitical developments, conflicts, and struggles. In
Quebec, the debates about language are clearly political and are, in
essence, debates about identity and the nation. Language policy and
planning have to be seen as primarily political and ideological endeavors.
Language policy is a dynamic and dialogic process; it evolves together with
the state, civil society, and society at large. Various social and
political actors not only have participated in the language ideological
debates, but also have contributed to the evolution of Quebec language
policy and planning during the period in question.





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