Linguistic regionalism and the social construction of space in Belgium

Linguistic regionalism and the social construction of space in Belgium ALEXANDER B. MURPHY The three major language regions of Belgium, Flanders, Wallonia, and Brüssels, have become indelible features of the Belgian political, social, and cultural landscape. Their importance is not just administrative; they have assumed a high degree of functional significance äs well. It is commonplace to consider major fiscal, economic, and demographic developments in terms of differences among and between Flanders, Wallonia, and Brüssels. Separate institutions have been established to deal with matters ranging from education to water use in each of the regions. And by most indicators, the language region is a significant basis for social and political identification. Although the present language regions do not have deep historical roots äs political or social units, they now provide the spatial backdrop for many of the questions that are asked about Belgium. Articles are written about the economy in Wallonia, language use in Brüssels, and education in Flanders. One of the first questions that is posed about any new policy is whether it will benefit one or another language region disproportionately. Framing questions in these terms makes considerable sense, of course; with the constitutional revisions of the past 20 years, significant powers have devolved to the language http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of the Sociology of Language de Gruyter

Linguistic regionalism and the social construction of space in Belgium

International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 104 (1) – Jan 1, 1993

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 1993 by the
ISSN
0165-2516
eISSN
1613-3668
DOI
10.1515/ijsl.1993.104.49
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ALEXANDER B. MURPHY The three major language regions of Belgium, Flanders, Wallonia, and Brüssels, have become indelible features of the Belgian political, social, and cultural landscape. Their importance is not just administrative; they have assumed a high degree of functional significance äs well. It is commonplace to consider major fiscal, economic, and demographic developments in terms of differences among and between Flanders, Wallonia, and Brüssels. Separate institutions have been established to deal with matters ranging from education to water use in each of the regions. And by most indicators, the language region is a significant basis for social and political identification. Although the present language regions do not have deep historical roots äs political or social units, they now provide the spatial backdrop for many of the questions that are asked about Belgium. Articles are written about the economy in Wallonia, language use in Brüssels, and education in Flanders. One of the first questions that is posed about any new policy is whether it will benefit one or another language region disproportionately. Framing questions in these terms makes considerable sense, of course; with the constitutional revisions of the past 20 years, significant powers have devolved to the language

Journal

International Journal of the Sociology of Languagede Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1993

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