Unisa Press

Language policy and the promotion of peace African and European case studies

Author: Neville Alexander and Arnulf von Scheliha
ISBN: 978-1-86888-749-1
Number of pages: 139
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About the book

This book brings together the contributions of twelve scholars engaged in language activism, in research and in promoting peace. The writers are keenly attuned to the potentially genocidal consequences of language differences. In the articles they have written, they make compelling cases for indigenous non-hegemonic languages to be used and promoted, not only as a means of communication but to preserve the multilingual communities inhabiting the world. The book is a product of a collegial effort resulting from a symposium on Language Policy and the Promotion of Peace or the Prevention of Conflict, which was held at the University of Osnabrück, Germany, in 2011.

While many different 'angles of vision', positions, approaches and emphases are argued in the contributors' commentaries and in their case studies, the twelve scholars and activists are united in their call for a multilingual global habitus. Neville Edward Alexander, the principal editor of this compilation, spent about 30 years studying and making policy proposals about the language question in South Africa. In that country, eleven languages are officially recognised by the post-apartheid government, and yet only two, English and Afrikaans, enjoy high-status functions in official communications. Alexander persistently called for mother-tongue instruction for children in their formative years of schooling. Sadly, this radical scholar and acknowledged sociologist of language died of lung cancer while he was working on this volume in 2012.

Arnulf von Scheliha, the co-editor of this compilation, is professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Osnabrück in Germany. His main research topics are political ethics, interreligious hermeneutics, history of theology, and transformation of religion in pluralistic societies. He was the main organiser of the symposium that brought international scholars together to reflect on language policy and the promotion of peace, and that provided the wide-ranging 'raw material' for this book.

Table of content

Foreword by Roland Czada ix
Foreword by Alícia Fuentes-Calle
Conditions under which language policy affects social stability Neville Alexander 1
The case of the Catalan language: Some lessons Fèlix Martí 5
Language and hegemonic power: How feasible is conflict management by means of language policy? H. Ekkehard Wolff 11
The language issue and the quest for lasting peace in Africa: Prospects and challenges Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe 33
The role of language in the process of constructing,preserving and reinforcing peace in Africa Etienne Sadembouo and Maurice Tadadjeu 47
Language policy and identity conflict in relation to Afrikaans in the post-apartheid era Jon Orman 59
Linguistic politics and the Northern Ireland peace process Aodán Mac Póilin 77
Language policy and conflict management: A view from Galicia Fernando Ramallo 93
Overcoming ethno-liguistic divisions: Developing educational materials in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina Brigitta Busch 105
On language and peace: Some theological remarks Arnulf von Scheliha 123
Abbreviations and glossary 129
Author biographies 131