Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Imposing a Mythical National Purity: France and its Minorities

Henri Jeanjean.

French governments have pursued, for centuries, a linguicide policy aiming at the elimination of the existing traditional minority languages. Lately some meagre improvements were made to improve the rights of individuals or groups to be educated in their own languages. The highest courts in the country ruled that these changes were anticonstitutional.
France is attempting to build a legal linguistic Maginot line to preserve its language within its borders and argues that French should retain its place in the international organisations in the name of linguistic diversity. On the other hand that country relentlessly tries to eradicate that same diversity within its borders.
Some positive steps had been taken, but they were quickly negated and a more intolerant attitude towards all its minorities seem to prevail asd Communautarism and multiculturalism are increasingly seen as the ennemies undermining a French mythical homogeneous identity. how will these minorities survive in the future?
Two strategies have been applied: the use of bombs and the European Courts. Recently the latter seem to be preferred, but for how long?


Henri Jeanjean  (Australia)
Senior Lecturer
School of English Literatures, Philosophy and Languages
University of Wollongong

Henri is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Languages at UOW and Convenor of the European Studies Program. He is specialised in the study of minorities in France and in particular of Occitan.

  • Minority
  • Linguistic policy
  • Identity
  • Diversity
  • Multiculturalism
  • Terrorism

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)