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Pride and profit: Semiotic landscaping in Galicia and the Basque Country

Funding: VR (D0130501)
Johan Järlehed

The project is concerned with the interaction of nation-building and cultural commodification, and with how linguistic and cultural expressions thereby acquire new forms and meanings. Based on empirical findings from former research on the cases of Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country, the study is driven by the assumption that one of the principal forces actually influencing the process of minority nation-building is the one of commodification. The shift from a discourse of political rights to a discourse of economic development, and from perceiving language and culture as markers of ethno-linguistic identity to also be seen as commodities is argued to create both challenges and new opportunities for minority languages and cultural communities. The purpose of the project is therefore to examine and compare how these challenges and opportunities are dealt with in the three cases of nation-building.

This will be done via an ethnographic and discourse analytical examination of the semiotic landscape, i.e. the symbolic and material construction of the public space through resources like language, typography, color and material in signs (e.g. street-name signs, corporate logotypes, restaurant menus). Through the analysis of three kinds of data - signs, policies, and interviews - the project will inform on how cultural distinctiveness is created in the semiotic landscape of each minority, in what ways it can be said to be commodified, and what this means to different groups of people.

Contact Information

Johan Järlehed

Box 200, 405 30 Göteborg

Visiting Address:
Lundgrensgatan 7

031-786 1777

Page Manager: Annika Andersson|Last update: 11/7/2014

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