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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson
Chapter 21: Social Capital of Indigenous and Autochthonous Ethnicities
21 Social capital of indigenous and autochthonous ethnicities Birger Winsa Introduction This chapter maps the relationship between language policies, social capital and cultural and economic development in a multilingual region. The region concerned is the northernmost Swedish Torne Valley and parts of the Sápmi where the minority languages Saami, Meänkieli and Finnish are spoken, along with the national language, Swedish. Cultural statistics (literature, theatre and song) are related to language policies, density of voluntary associations, unemployment and socioeconomic development. Two monolingual regions are references for the study. The results are discussed in relation to indigenous and ethnic based entrepreneurship. The future of minority cultures and languages depends on whether the minority communities can transform the former stigmatised languages, cultures and ethnicities into assets in socio-economic development. Former discriminative language policies caused stigma and negative attitudes towards the local cultures and languages and have, most likely, hampered development of the civil society in the multilingual region, which has inﬂuenced economic performance. The bilingual community members are more likely to be unemployed and less active in civil society and have seemingly weaker social capital. Earlier studies on social capital have neglected language aspects of multilingual civil societies. The cultural development was sparked among the Saami by the public recognition of the indigenous group in the 1970s, whereas the Tornedalian cultural movement was initiated in the 1980s when an ethnic based association was established, and especially after 2000 when Sweden recognised the national minority languages in legislation. Cultural production in...
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