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Old and New Minorities: Diversity Governance and Social Cohesion from the Perspective of Minority Rights

Abstract

Minority rights instruments have been traditionally applied to old minority groups. This paper examines to what extent these same instruments are conceptually meaningful to the integration of new minorities stemming from migration. The conviction that minority groups, irrespective of their being old or new minorities, have some basic common claims that can be subsumed under a common definition does not mean that all minority groups have all the same rights and legitimate claims: some have only minimum rights, while others have or should be granted more substantial rights; some can legitimately put forward certain claims – not enforceable rights – that need to be negotiated with the majority, while others should not. In order to devise a common but differentiated set of rights and obligations for old and new minority groups, it is essential to analyse the differences and similarities of both categories of minorities, their claims, needs, and priorities; in this way, it will be possible to delineate a catalogue of rights that can be demanded by and granted to different minority groups. Studying the interaction between traditional minorities and migrants or old and new minority groups is a rather new task because so far these topics have been studied in isolation from each other. It is also an important task for future research in Europe since many states have established systems for the rights of old minorities but have not as yet developed sound policies for the integration of new minority groups stemming from migration.

Open access
Linguistic Justice and English as a Lingua Franca from a Minority Perspective
– The Case of Hungarians in Transylvania –

Abstract

The article is a brief evaluation of the regulatory environment of language use in Transylvania, Romania based on Van Parijs’ conceptual toolkit presented in his 2011 book Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World. This linguistic regime is a coercive hybrid regulation containing elements stemming from both the categorical regime (personality principle) and territoriality. In municipalities or counties where the official use of minority languages is permitted, it is typically present in a conjunctive manner, but its enforcement is weak and inconsistent. The principle of territorially coercive linguistic subdivision – proposed by Van Parijs as an optimal solution for a greater linguistic justice – is not accommodated in any of the fields of official communication and under present political circumstances it has no further plausibility. A hypothetical alternative for the territorially coercive regime would be the introduction of English as a lingua franca in interethnic communication. We argued that this latter option would be fair only if English could entirely replace the official languages currently in use or it would receive a fully equivalent status at least in those regions where a considerable number of linguistic minorities live.

Open access