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Euskaraz. Lengua e identidad en los textos multimodales de promoción del euskara, 1970-2001.

Författare Johan Järlehed
Datum för examination 2007-09-29
Opponent at public defense Prof Pauliina Raento, Human Geography, Helsinki University, Finland
Publiceringsår 2007
Publicerad vid Institutionen för romanska språk, avdelningen för spanska
Språk es
Ämnesord Basque language and identity, Basque language movement, Basque nationalism, multimodality, social semiotics, critical discourse analysis, posters, wall-paintings, stickers
Ämneskategorier Sociologi, Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER), Spanska språket, Retorik


Much research has been done on the complex and often conflictive relationship between language and identity in different geographical settings. But little attention has been paid to the – mainly visual – campaigns that language movements realize in order to defend and promote their language. The aim of this study is to examine the representation of language and national identity in the campaigns which have been realized in the seven territories of the Basque Country during the last decades. The main concern is with the social construction and reproduction of what it means to ‘speak Basque’ and ‘be Basque’, and of the relationship between these two features, through the multimodal texts of the campaigns and the discourse that they articulate. Drawing on social semiotics, critical discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and cultural anthropology, the analysis is carried out on a corpus of 1211 multimodal texts – posters, stickers and murals – which were produced by more than 240 social actors within the Basque language movement 1970-2001. The principal findings suggest that both the language movement and its definition of the Basque identity have become more heterogenous. Since the beginning of the 1980’s there has been an ongoing struggle between the institutionalized part of the movement and the politiziced fraction on the goals and mediums of the revitalization process. This struggle is also related to the political and administrative status of the different territories of the Basque Country and their inhabitants. The texts of the institutionalized actors present a process of standardization which seems to respond to the political and linguistical normalization of the Basque Country. While they now reproduce a more open understanding of what it is to be Basque, the texts of the radical actors continue to relate euskara and the Basque identity in a quite narrow way. At the same time, the pro-euskara discourse that these texts articulate seems to be increasingly influenced by the current globalization and regionalization, and presents therefore an increasing incertainty as to what it means to be Basque and to speak Basque.

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