The View From Below: Exploring the Interface between Basque Language Activism and European Language Politics in France

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This article explores how Basque language activists in France have evaluated and engaged with European-level minority language policies in relative terms of “opportunity.” Focusing upon the social construction of political opportunity from below, I consider how actors affiliated with a community-based schooling initiative cultivated a strategic stance toward the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional or Minority Languages between 1997 and 2007. Drawing upon qualitative case study data, I show how activist stances toward the European
Charter were both motivated and minimized by their institutional containment within the French national state and the educational sector more specifically. The article contributes to scholarship by shedding microsociological light on the ways in which grassroots actors experience the intersection between national and supranational political processes in Europe. The article also contributes to the study of ethnic mobilization in Europe by shedding light on the underexamined field of linguistic-rights activism in education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-220
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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