Positive ideologies ain’t enough! (Dis)junctions and paradoxes in minority language protection
In 2018, I conducted research on the application of protection measures for two minority language groups (Cimbrian and Mocheno) in Northern Italian schools. The study aimed at describing linguistic learning programs but it slowly turned into something more. The anthropological holistic perspective unveiled profound contradictions and paradoxes in the implementation of minority language policies. Such discrepancies suggest that law can be both a “present and absent” social actor that influences reality in non-immediately perceptible ways. On the one side, purposes of a legislative manifesto can be soundlessly inhibited by bureaucrats’ deliberate inaction or lack of competence. On the other side, an inhibited legislative text still produces undetectable effects and ontologically impacts on individuals. Consequently, positive ideologies ain’t enough if little is known about what happens in everyday operational terms and this cannot be ignored, especially by those who are sincere in their support for linguistic and educational rights. This article endorses a critique of ‘the justice possible through law’ upheld by early law and society research.
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