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'National' languages in transnational contexts Language, migration and citizenship in Europe.

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Presentation on theme: "'National' languages in transnational contexts Language, migration and citizenship in Europe."— Presentation transcript:

1 'National' languages in transnational contexts Language, migration and citizenship in Europe

2 Outline Introduction: language, migration and anti-cosmopolitanism Regulating migration through language: the German Zuwanderungsgesetz and the Austrian Integrationsvereinbarung Ideological effects of language policies Conclusions

3 Introduction: language, migration and anti-cosmopolitanism Debates on language and citizenship as ‘language ideological debates’ Migration as ‘threat to integrity of the nation’ The ‘monolingual habitus’ of the multilingual state Post-1989 instability and official responses Denial of multilingualism and resistance to migration

4 ‘Germany is a country of immigration (Einwanderungsland). With the passage of this Immigration Law (Zuwanderungsgesetz) this fact is now recognised and will be given the official seal of approval today in the Bundestag and next week in the Bundesrat.’ ‘This law is a law for restricting immigration (Zuwanderungsbegrenzungsgesetz). It puts an end to the idea that Germany can be transformed into a multicultural immigration society.’

5 Language loyalty, language disloyalty and Sprachkultur Language loyalty as an ideological issue Policies on migration and integration in Germany and Austria: 1 Why is (proficiency in a single ‘national’ / ‘legitimate’) language invoked as the touchstone of social cohesion and integration? 2 What do the language requirements enshrined in these policies represent?

6 Regulating migration through language: the German Zuwanderungsgesetz and the Austrian Integrationsvereinbarung Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (2000): jus soli, jus sanguinis Schily: ‘a contribution to internal peace in Germany…. for us it is above all about integration.’

7 ‘We must ensure that those who live here speak German. We must make sure that there are no classes in schools in which more than 50% of the children are foreigners. We must see to it that young foreigners in Germany receive training. We must make sure that there are no ghettoes in our cities, which lead to social conflicts.’

8 ‘The aim of integration is to achieve binding convictions. Therefore, anyone who wants to live here permanently must first of all learn German. This is the most important pre- requisite for mutual understanding and successful co-existence. Integrating into our society also involves accepting and observing our constitutional principles. Integration is determined by mutual give and take. Integration must be promoted but also required. [Integration muss gefördert, aber auch gefordert werden.]’

9 ‘The Federal Government considers the targeted support of language learning an important means of achieving integration. It is planning for all immigrants who hope to attain the right to stay here a programme of language learning that is suited to their needs. … Integration is a long-term task and its success also depends on whether the German population helps foreign families to identify with the country and to find a new homeland (Heimat) here.’

10 insufficient or no knowledge of German amongst accompanying family members (in the case of more than 75% of new arrivals) cultural distance from the indigenous population the difficult job market situation. ‘Whoever demands better integration of Aussiedler must say yes to immigration control and to the support of integration.’

11 Zuwanderungsgesetz to be ratified in Bundesrat today (9 July 2004). Schily’s flagship project: ‘the most modern immigration policy in Europe …a historic turning point … because we recognise that we have – and will continue to have – immigration.’

12 3 main aims of legislation: to control and restrict immigration in relation to the integration capacity of the Federal Republic to meet Germany’s economic and job market interests but also to meet our humanitarian commitments and our obligations under international law to recruit highly qualified personnel for jobs that in spite of high domestic unemployment cannot be filled at the moment; this will create new jobs and increase the competitiveness of the German economy and German science

13 Language identified as crucial obstacle: young foreigners up to the age of 16 join their family members in Germany without linguistic knowledge or useable training many foreigners have little or no knowledge of German supporting measures for integration, such as language learning, are neither sought nor adequately provided Language and ‘orientation’ courses an entitlement – and an obligation – both for new arrivals and for Bestandsausländer deemed to be ‘in particular need of integration’ (besonders integrationsbedürftig).

14 Austrian ‘Integration Agreement’ came into force on 1 January ‘Through the creation of an integration agreement the provision of language learning opportunities in the educational sector will be reinforced, cultural and social cohesion will be promoted, fear and anxiety in the indigenous population will be reduced, social abuses will be contained, and opportunities for occupational development will be improved.’ simple, basic knowledge of the German language for the purposes of communication and reading simple texts everyday topics, bureaucratic procedures, knowledge about the country and citizenship basic values of the European value community [?!]

15 Courses obligatory for all new migrants and backdated to Widespread criticism by academics and anti-discrimination action groups. Du müssen integrieren! True to the tradition established by Socialist [SPÖ] interior ministers, ‘integration’ is defined only in terms of limitations for immigrants, not also as a duty for Austria. Of course: linguistic knowledge is an important pre-requisite for integration, inadequate German is a serious barrier to integration. But it’s not the only one. … The ÖVP and the FPÖ [i.e. centre-right and far-right coalition government] have failed to dismantle barriers to integration [e.g. lack of voting rights, restricted access to welfare rights and social housing] which the state had erected – and require foreigners to overcome the barrier of language.

16 The ideological effects of language policies ‘Post-national’ ideology of ‘national’ languages The naturalisation of ideas about legitimate forms of communication and expression Social integration as ‘securing and stabilising established order’ (geordnete Verhältnisse): a 2-edged sword for the individual – facilitative and coercive (integrativ-entlastend und integrativ-zwanghaft) What are the underlying aims of the policies – to enable or to contain?

17 Monolingualism and ‘democratic ideals and generally proper and civilised behaviour’; multilingualism not a hindrance to social welfare of minority groups but a threat to the prevailing order Knowledge of German as necessary condition of citizenship more important than ability to exercise rights Limited conception of object of study (‘German’) reinforces ‘dogma of homogeneity’ Actual needs and desires of migrants ignored

18 Conclusions Relationship between ‘national’ languages and citizenship anachronistic but persistent C19 project of constructing/legitimating nations vs reaction against C21 emergence of transnational and cosmopolitan communities ‘Global’ English perceived as less threatening than ‘migrant’ languages National governments seeking to preserve a ‘public’ through linguistic conformity and normalisation Discourses of language and nation recontextualised in the relationship between language and citizenship


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