Presentation on theme: "Language, identity and economic integration: minorities in the city of Pula Mirna Jernej Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb The presented research."— Presentation transcript:
Language, identity and economic integration: minorities in the city of Pula Mirna Jernej Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb The presented research falls between two projects: “Politics and strategies of identity in multicultural European cities” and “Economic participation, language practices and collective identities in the multilingual city”. Within the first one I am concerned with group and individual identification processes of members of Italian and Albanian minorities in the multicultural and multilingual city of Pula, while within the second my work is focussed on the relationship of these identification processes and the economic and social integration of members of Italian and Albanian minorities, taking into consideration particularly the relevance of language as a resource of social and economic accessibility. The city of Pula is situated on the Istrian peninsula, in the western part of Croatia. The specific position of the Istrian Region was one of the reasons why people living in Istria and in Pula in the 19th century have changed four states without migrating: Austro- Hungarian Empire, Italy, Yugoslavia and nowadays Croatia. This specific historical situation has caused numerous migration flows and mixture of traditions and cultures, which resulted in multiethnic composition of the city of Pula. The multicultural reality is composed of many minorities which are crucially influencing the social, economic and cultural life of Pula. This can also be seen from the complex linguistic situation. Today the city of Pula has got an official Croatian-Italian bilingualism. But the complex relation between the idioms in use and the presence of various minority languages construct the multilingual reality of the city. Fig. 1 Pula – situated on the Istrian peninsula Language as a form of capital Having in mind that the linguistic resources can be transformed into capital, language can serve as resource of accessibility or, on the contrary, means of exclusion. If languages are assigned different status, this may result in asymmetries of social power, economic participation and integration of a specific community. The symbolic capital of language refers to the relation of the social status of members of specific minorities and the status that is assigned to their respective language. The economic capital of language refers to the potential for participation in existing economic structures. On the examples of Italian and Albanian language I also want to examine the relation between the role of language skills, economic opportunities and migrant integration. In the research we apply the ethnographic approach with largely qualitative methodology: -semi-structured interviews with members of Italian and Albanian minority of the city of Pula; -observation of language practices in workplaces; -observation of the linguistic landscape of the city. When dealing with the complex multicultural and multilingual reality it is important to have in mind the context and to be aware of the complex and dynamic identification processes. The interaction of language, culture and identity needs to be always taken into consideration. The preliminary results of the research show that members of Italian and Albanian minorities living in Pula enjoy different status. The reasons for that could be found in the fact that the Italian minority benefits of its specific historical background, while the Albanian minority is considered a new, migrant community. This fact is also reflected in the use of their respective languages: the Italian language enjoys the status of the second official language in Pula, while the Albanian language exists only in private sphere (it is used with family and friends). The Italian language can be seen as both symbolic and economic capital in the present Pula’s reality, while the Albanian language is important for Albanian ethnic identity and community solidarity. Introduction Aim Method Preliminary results Albanian minority - 480 (0,82%) in Pula - migrant community (newcomers from Kosovo) - economic migration (tourism in Istria) - identity associated with the place of birth - typical economic family activities (goldsmith; bakery) bakery) - mother tongue: Albanian variety - used in private domain (family, friends, workplace) - integrated linguistically – speak Croatian variety in public domain public domain - social integration – always furešti? Italian minority - 2.824 (4,82%) in Pula - autochthonous minority and previous majority (specific historical background) - strong ethnic identity: “Italians from Istria” - mother tongue: Istro-Venetian - used in both private and public domain - standard Italian: official language, used in education education - standard Croatian: learnt at school, used when necessary necessary - frequent code switching - privilege of bilingualism – linguistic capital Linguistic landscape The linguistic landscape refers to the visibility of languages on public and commercial signs in a given territory. It may serve as a marker of the relative power and status of the linguistic communities inhabiting the territory (regarding the eventual predominance of one language). The obvious major presence of the Italian component regarding toponymy in officially bilingual city of Pula constitutes the linguistic heritage and is part of the culture. The Albanian language, on the contrary, is not present in the Pula’s linguistic landscape, which goes in favour of the predominance and higher status of the Italian language. Fig.2. Linguistic landscape on the streets of Pula Concluding remarks The aims of the research are to describe the complex multicultural and multilingual reality of the city of Pula, concentrating specifically on members of Italian and Albanian minority as actors of this multicultural reality. I intend to compare: 1)identification practices of members of respective minorities (considering language as identity marker); 2) communicative practices which are at play in specific settings; 3) integration of a minority within the host community and whether the status (old/new minority) affects it. By integration I mean participation in social life and economic participation (active participation in the local economy). References Bourdieu, P. (1986) The forms of capital, in: Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. J. Richardson. New York: Greenwood, 241-258. Bourhis, R.Y. and Landry, R. (1997) Linguistic Landscape and Ethnolinguistic Vitality: An Empirical Study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16, 23-4. Grin, F. (1999) Economics, in: Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity, ed. J. Fishman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 9-24. Heller, M. (2003) Globalization, the New Economy, and the Commodification of Language and Identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7/4: 473-492.