The politics of place-making and belonging through language choice within center-periphery dynamics in Limburg, The Netherlands

Lotte Thissen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This contribution analyses a case of carnival celebration in Maasniel, Limburg, the Netherlands, a village that was annexed as a neighborhood of the larger city of Roermond in 1959. During the event, the Dutch ritual of Sinterklaas was combined with the carnival celebration, resulting in a staged language conflict between Dutch and dialect. I argue that this language conflict was used by the actors on stage to engage in the politics of place-making and belonging. These politics express who and what practices are perceived as in and out of place during this particular carnival event. I show that the actors of the event, through Bakhtinian carnivalesque manners, centralize the carnival celebration, dialect use, and Maasniel while peripheralizing Sinterklaas celebration practices, the use of Dutch, and the city of Roermond. I argue that the eventual switch from Dutch to dialect may be considered as a way to resist and subvert dominant center-periphery ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sociolinguistics of Place and Belonging
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from the margins
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789027264596
ISBN (Print)9789027200044
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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