As part of my ongoing series on minority language advocacy, in this post I continue my discussion by looking at some of the strategic spaces or “fields” targeted by grassroots language activists. In particular, I consider how minority language activists often work in “political” fields so as to influence state-level governance and policies. In my next post, I will consider how minority language activists also often work in “cultural” fields that involve reaching out to “everday” people and community members in ways that entail the orchestration of festive and educational actions.
Social movements working to resist and reverse processes of minority language loss, such as the Basque movement in France and Spain, the Welsh movement in Great Britain, the Ainu movement in Japan or the Navajo movement in the U.S, have emerged in response to enduring legacies of state-based nationalism founded upon the logic of linguistic assimilation. Minority language activists challenge the idea that ethnolinguistic diversity is a social problem that must be contained and suppressed. In building these challenge local-level activists, however, need to target specific domains.