Politologue périphérique


How language becomes a political issue: Social change, collective movements and political competition in Corsica



Un article publié in International Journal of the Sociology of Language, vol. 261, 2020, pp. 119-144.


Abstract

The Mediterranean island of Corsica became French in 1768–1769, and Corsican is one of the most widely used regional languages in France. In Corsica, the language issue is politically prominent, with a very strong opposition between the nationalist regional government, which claims a co-official status for the Corsican language, and the French national government, which advocates the supremacy of the national language. However, the French linguistic integration process has been an astonishing success since the end of the nineteenth century, and the first mass mobilisations in favour of the Corsican language did not take place until the 1970s. In this article, I try to explain why the politicisation of Corsican language came so late; how this language became a politically salient issue; and how public attitudes and policies towards this language have substantially evolved. Since 1982, the state and the state-wide parties on the island have amended their strategy and challenged the near-monopoly of Corsican nationalists with regard to the defence of the Corsican language. Especially in the field of education, they promoted and implemented a language policy shift, and tried to depoliticise this issue. Nonetheless, political positions remain polarised regarding measures such as compulsory education and co-official status.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339389428_How_language_becomes_a_political_issue_Social_change_collective_movements_and_political_competition_in_Corsica
How language becomes a political issue: Social change, collective movements and political competition in Corsica