Multi-sited and historically layered language policy construction : parliamentary debate on the Finnish constitutional bilingualism in 1919
Saarinen, T., & Ihalainen, P. (2018). Multi-sited and historically layered language policy construction : parliamentary debate on the Finnish constitutional bilingualism in 1919. Language Policy, 17 (4), 545-565. doi:10.1007/s10993-018-9474-6
Published inLanguage Policy
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
In this article, we analyse the construction of Finnish constitutional bilingualism in the aftermath of gaining independence, a traumatic civil war and during the construction of a new republican polity based on regulated parliamentarism in 1917–1919. We take a multi-sited and historically informed approach to the dynamics of political discourse at the parliamentary level, analysing the discursive cycles of people, nationality and nation. We demonstrate the interconnectedness of language policy discourses with historically and spatially multi-sited and highly complex contexts and show how language policy confrontations can add important dimensions to increase our understanding of power struggles concerning other aspects of politics. Both sides of the debate utilized a set of nationalistic discourses, derived from the nineteenth century and reactivated by the discursive trends of the post-war situation. These discourses reinforced the ideas of national self-determination and the opening of politics to the people at large—though with a set of limitations to majority democracy. Indeed, the language paragraphs of the Finnish republican constitution of 1919 can be seen as a further set of minority provisions needed in search said ideals and reconstruction of normalcy after a crisis. ...
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