Owing to its isolation, the Cajun population of Louisiana long managed to preserve its own cultural identity, ever since arriving in Louisiana in the second half of the 18th century in the wake of an eventful history moving between France and Acadia. By the turn of the 20th century, however, its increasing assimilation to the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture had profoundly changed the situation. As the Cajun standard of living rose significantly, acculturation imperiled Louisiana French cultural identity through a repressive educational system that forbade children from speaking French in school. This resulted in a progressive reduction in the number of French speakers. At the end of the 1960s, awareness of this loss of cultural identity among part of the Cadien population spurred a strong commitment to the revival of Louisiana French culture. At the beginning of the 21 st century, the preservation of Cajun linguistic and cultural heritage incorporates a strategy of legitimization in a context of increasing globalization, both within and outside the population, which allows them to open themselves and embed into the contemporary world. The subject of this dissertation is the study of three processes associated with demands for recognition of cultural and linguistic identity among today's Cajun population. The first process pertains to Louisiana's integration in the French-speaking world.
Unlike other minority languages, Cajun French has the potential to fit into a wider French-speaking cultural complex, particularly the North American network of solidarity and partnership in which French Louisiana language and culture can be presented and promoted. The second process, which is a critical factor in the quest for legitimization, concerns the institutionalization in the public space, French immersion curriculum and higher education. The third process is youth awareness-raising, among students and others, as represented in Lafayette, at the heart of French Louisiana. It is this age class that is potentially best poised to defend the future of the vernacular language and culture.
|Advisor:||Ancelet, Barry J., Pequignot, Bruno|
|Commitee:||Bouchard, Vincent, Cerquiglini, Bernard, Fabiani, Jean-Louis, Leroy, Fabrice|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Awareness-raising, Cajun, Francophone world, Institutionalization, Legitimization, Louisiana|
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