Europäisches Journal für Minderheitenfragen

ISSN 1865-1089 (Print)
ISSN 1865-1097 (Online)

Abstract Ethnic “cleansing” is a central element of European history (as well as that of other areas of the world). This article first of all examines this phenomenon in conceptual terms and then undertakes to classify it within the context of doctrinal ideologies and structural conditions within the Modern Era. In the central section, different explanatory models for modern ethnic “cleansing” are discussed which for the most part also carry out dissociations with regard to time period and geography. Finally, the author also examines the question of whether such ethnic “cleansing” has served “rational” goals and purposes – and if so, what they were – and then also refers to the overlapping of ethnic conflicts with social ones.

Abstract The Swiss Confederation comprises twenty-six member states (cantons) and four “national languages”. According to the principle of territoriality which is in force there, the official monolingualism or multilingualism correspondingly refers to certain territorial units. In the four multilingual cantons, this principle is extended to the level of community, and thus in them, there are both officially monolingual communities and officially multilingual ones. In the trilingual canton of Grisons (also known as Graubünden in German, Grigioni in Italian, and Grischun in Romansh), the language law that entered into force in 2008 defines for the first time each monolingual or multilingual community. At the same time, many communities in Grisons merge into larger entities for economic reasons. As a result of this, the question has arisen as to how to proceed with the linguistic border if among the merging communities, some of them use the prestigious and dominating official language of German and others use the threatened language of limited diffusion, Romansh, as the official language. This article uses one concrete case of merger to discuss the effect that linguistically ideological debates have upon the reorganization of a community territory and, on the contrary, how such mergers may call into question long-established linguistic ideologies. In view of continuing globalization, the aim and object of the principle of territoriality of the Swiss character is also critically analyzed within that context.

Abstract Based on examples of European minority languages that have for years been the subjects of revitalisation efforts, this essay will show that the desired results have not yet been achieved. The proponents of these efforts – and even more so the language planners, politicians and activists directly involved – often point to the large number of projects and products that should (theoretically) be beneficial to these marginalised languages. However, the current state of most of Europe’s linguistic minorities proves that it is exceedingly difficult to stem (let alone reverse) the language shift that steadily draws speakers away from declining languages – which are used less and less – towards the major idioms.

Abstract Basque is one of the oldest European languages still alive today. It is spoken on both sides of the border between France and Spain, and after having gradually declined for centuries, it has undergone a major revival over the last 50 years. In addition to a rise in the number of people who speak the language, its use has also increased, albeit to a lesser extent. After a brief overview of the Basque language and Basque society, this paper analyses the key sociolinguistic factors of the situation, such as the support provided by the social movement, the legal status of the language and the principal current sociolinguistic data. This information is then interpreted by means of a theoretical model which divides the common web of sociolinguistic factors into three levels: individual, microsocial and macrosocial. Finally, the paper offers some thoughts on the information presented and a general, albeit brief overall assessment of the situation.

Abstract Christoph Pan, who worked as director of the renowned South Tyrolean Institute of Ethnic Groups from 1961 to 2013, was awarded the Order of Merit of the Province of Tyrol in February 2015. This article takes this and several other events as the opportunity to briefly go over the life and accomplishments of Christoph Pan and to acknowledge his contributions to the protection of national minorities in Europe. In the author’s view, the particular lifetime-achievement of Christoph Pan consists of the fact that “starting out from the minority problem of the South Tyroleans, he made the protection of ethnic groups or national minorities into a European, or even worldwide, matter of concern.”