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Mesologues: An ethnobibliographic study of cultural and lingual politics in contemporary Brittany


This dissertation reports the findings of a ten-month field study of the human membership and lingua-cultural organizations participating in the “Breton Movement” or the “Emsav” (lit. the Uprising). The Breton Movement may be described as an ethno-nationalist social movement active in the region of Brittany, France. The Breton Movement underwent institutionalization during the late twentieth and early twenty-first century and now functions as a local culture industry. As the Breton Movement is especially concerned with the Breton language (i.e. an endangered insular Celtic language spoken on the Armorican peninsula from the 5th Century CE onward), it has succeeded in integrating itself into an international network of academics and activists concerned with language endangerment and revitalization. Its integration into this network has allowed it to lay claim to material and immaterial goods. It has indeed helped the movement to build and bolster the aforementioned complex of lingua-cultural institutions. There is however considerable contestation concerning the movement’s “authority” over the language and the “authenticity” of the language variety that it promotes. Since a great deal has been written on the topic of linguistic “authority,” “authenticity,” and “legitimacy” in Brittany and elsewhere (see Costa 2010, Adkins 2013, Morvan 2017, Hornsby 2019 inter alios), this dissertation takes a different tack by looking at the meta-stable articulation of discursive entities (e.g. accent, dialect and language) and the social organization of interdiscursivity (i.e. the circulation of discursive elements between distinct sites, cf. Gal 2018). This dissertation is especially concerned with back-and-forth movement between the ethnographic field (i.e. concurrent social establishments) and the bibliographic field (i.e. the academic literature).

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