Language and media in the promotion of the Breton cultural identity in the European Union

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Language and media in the promotion of the Breton cultural identity in the European Union

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Title: Language and media in the promotion of the Breton cultural identity in the European Union
Author: Winterstein, David P
Abstract: Prior to the explosion in the number of global communication links in the 20th century, nation-states were the primary international communicators. However, with these new developments, groups both larger and smaller than nation-states have begun to communicate their own identities in the interconnected world. This resurgence of cultural groups is an important part of socially anchoring individuals within the vague impersonality of the global flow of information. Examining the process by which groups situate themselves through the negotiation of their cultural identities can help understand the roles played by mass media in the 21st century. This dissertation examines one such group, the Bretons, focusing upon the relationship between their language, media use, and the promotion of their identity by understanding mass media as arenas in which identity negotiation takes place.This dissertation combined a variety of qualitative data in order to provide as complete a picture as possible of Breton language media use and the roles it plays in identity negotiation. Data from in-depth interviews were supplemented by an analysis of political documents and a content analysis of Breton language media products.The Bretons use the media to help promote their language and to restore a sense of confidence in it as a public part of society, but their effort is hampered as the current political and economic environment in which these media operate constrain their effectiveness. As a result, incorporating the idea of a flow of information, perhaps as a Breton microcosm of the global information flow, would improve the Bretons' ability to use the media to promote their own identity. Furthermore, such a flow would help the Bretons situate themselves within the larger French and European social contexts, making their identity an inclusive means of viewing the world rather than an exclusive fence by which to shut it out. The expanding number of global cultural interactions taking place requires this type of inclusiveness and understanding of others to avoid serious conflicts between value systems.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 2001

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