“The reality of languages today, challenges the dominant discourse of the Nation State” Argues Peter Kraus

News / 09.6.16

University of Augsburg professor, Peter Kraus, delivered the main keynote speech at the Migrations and Minorities conference organised by Centre Maurits Coppieters, Ezkerraberri Fundazioa and the university EHUgune (Bilbao, 26 may 2016).

He addressed the issue of Europe’s linguistic and cultural diversity. The European Union is home to more than 80 indigenous languages. The majority of them are minority languages, which do not have official status. A large number of migrants arriving in Europe poses a challenge, not only for their reception, accommodation and social integration, but it can have also have unexpected consequences for specific groups or communities.

Evidently, the arrival of large numbers of migrants to an area where more than one language coexist – one of them being the socially dominant – carries with it a risk for the other language groups. Newcomers could attach themselves to the majority language as a means of social integration, ignoring the minority one. That situation could bring the minority language to an ever greater minoritization.

Kraus refers to this situation as “complex diversity”. He observes how, specially in mid-size and big cities, bilingualism and multilingualism are no longer  defining traits of traditional minorities or new migrants, but also increasingly more in the majority groups. He argues this “challenges the dominant discourse in the period of high modernity of the nation state”.

Watch his full conference keynote speech here [SPANISH]: