Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Faer Asturies: Linguistic politics and the frustrated construction of Asturian nationalism, 1974-1999
by Zimmerman, Patrick, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, 2011, 463; 3452460
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focuses on the cultural and linguistic politics surrounding the sub-state nationalist movements that arose in Spain during the late twentieth century. In particular, it analyzes the curious case of Asturias and the frustrated history of the nationalist movement there, which contrasts with the relative success of regionalist and nationalist political parties in neighboring regions. While Catalunya, Euskadi, Galicia, and even Andalucia rapidly turned cultural revival movements into concrete political gains, taking advantage of the new constitutional structure put in place after 1978, Asturias is especially interesting because of its failure to do so.

The resurgence of regionalist sentiment during the Transition (∼1975-1982) provides an interesting example of the complex struggle between various groups vying for political and cultural hegemony during an extremely fluid period. Along with other groups opposed to the Franco regime, the coalescing Asturianista movement attempted to carve out a political space in the region and within the structure of the reformed Spanish State. The new Statute of Autonomy, the establishment of the state-funded Asturian Language Academy, the introduction of Asturian language classes in schools, and the explicit legal protection for the language were all regionalist advances unthinkable without the political activism of the Asturianistas.

However, the Asturian case indicates that a separate language, while often a critical component of nationalist programs, is not in itself sufficient fuel for a long-term political project. While the nationalist movement managed to insert some elements of its linguistic and cultural program into the 1981 Autonomy Statute and its 1999 revision, the Asturian nationalists were effectively managed through a strategy of simultaneous absorption and marginalization. The ruling parties incorporated some of the Asturianista movement's membership and granted limited concessions to their program while simultaneously systematically frustrating any attempt to enact significant change. The Asturianistas never expanded upon their periodic success at mobilizing the population around a linguistic and cultural revival into a sustainable political program. This led to frustration and fragmentation within the nationalist movement, weakening its ability to influence the major parties and making it much easier for the Socialist Party to marginalize nationalist groups and maintain its dominant position.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Maddox, Richard
School: Carnegie Mellon University
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, European history, Sociolinguistics
Keywords: Asturias, Language politics, Nationalism, Spain
Publication Number: 3452460
ISBN: 9781124592954
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