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Contesting Modernities:Language standardization and the production of an ancient/modern Basque culture

Critique of Anthropology , Volume 13 (2): 101 – Jun 1, 1993

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Publisher
Sage Publications
Copyright
Copyright © 1993 by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0308-275X
eISSN
0308-275X
D.O.I.
10.1177/0308275X9301300201
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Contesting Modernities:Language standardization and the production of an ancient/modern Basque culture

Abstract

Contesting ModernitiesLanguage standardization and the production of an ancient/modern Basque culture SAGE Publications, Inc.1993DOI: 10.1177/0308275X9301300201 Jacqueline Urla University of Massachusetts, Amherst Nationalism, whatever else it may be, is always a process of cultural invention. In the last ten years or so, historians and anthropologists have made studying this process a virtual industry, looking at how folklore, traditional dances, museums, historic monuments, even cuisines, have been created and histories rewritten with the aim of consolidating an authentic and unique national identity. Most of this research has centered on what Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983) have felicitously called 'the invention of tradition', and has enabled us better to understand tradition as a 'symbolic process that both presupposes past symbolisms and creatively i reinterprets them' (Handler and Linnekin, 1984: 287). Emphasizing the historically constructed nature of tradition is not, however, meant to suggest a distinction between genuine and spurious nationalisms or identities. Rather, to paraphrase Vietnamese film-maker Trinh T. Minh Ha, tradition, like cultural difference, is produced, not salvaged; and this production is a continual process of conflict, disorder and emergence (Clifford et al., 1987). In this article, I want to take up a different kind of 'invention', one which usually figures
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