Language endagerment and revitalisation as elements of regimes and truth: Shifting terminology to shift perspective
Journal article by James Costa in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, volume 34, issue 4, 2013.
This paper seeks to explore how the language endangerment/revitalisation discourse was gradually established as a new Foucauldian regime of truth. I characterise this regime of truth as one that not only essentialises the link between language and community, but also as one that constructs communities as homogeneous and seeks to minimise internal and external conflict. Through the example of how this discourse is becoming dominant in France, I then suggest that there are alternative ways of looking at minority language processes, and draw on works developed in France in the 1980s in the Occitan school of sociolinguistics to propose an approach centred on social actors and processes rather than on languages. I thus propose that one way of analysing (and responding to) ‘language endangerment’ may reside in looking at it from a different perspective such as the one developed by Robert Lafont around the Occitan case.