Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Ibon Manterola (University of the Basqque Country)
The enthusiasm for participation and innovation has entered into Basque language planning. One of the more notable manifestations has been the E-5 project to develop the new objectives for Basque language revival in the 21stcentury. Launched by the Basque Studies Society, Eusko Ikaskuntza, E-5 was led by Iñaki Marko, a university professor with deep roots in the nongovernmental Basque language social movement. This paper will examine the range of participants, discourses and technologies of participatory brainstorming used in the E5, from post-it notes, to community capitals, to affirmative inquiry. These new methods enter into a social movement that has historically enjoyed a high level of civic involvement in language revitalization. We seek to identify the specific political and contextual factors and aspirations that propelled this experiment in participatory methodologies. What symbolic capital, kinds of subjectivities, and understandings of language do these methods foster? How do these methods and their framing compare to previous forms through which language activism has engaged the citizens and formulated goals? At one level, this experiment can be seen as signaling a shift from a focus on language management to a focus on imagination and creativity. But, as Wilf (2019) has argued, the routinization of innovation and creativity brings with it other structures and ideologies. How can we push this analysis further? What are the questions we need to be asking, and what are the processes we need to pay attention to in understanding the significance that participatory design brings to language revitalization?