Título Sociolinguistic (Re)constructions of Diaspora portugueseness: Portuguese-Canadian Youth in Toronto
Autor Emanuel da Silva
Orientadora Anne-Marie Brousseau
Data novembro de 2011
Institutição University of Toronto
Área "Department French Language and Literature"
Abstract “This dissertation demonstrates that notions of language and identity are not entirely about personal characteristics (what a person is born with, what is "in his blood"), nor are they entirely about agency (how a person chooses to present herself). Instead, they are largely about markets and about the multiple positionings of social actors within markets that are structured by ideologies of the nation state, immigration and the globalized new economy. This critical perspective challenges the normalized view that immigrant (diasporic) communities are simply natural social groupings or depoliticized transplantations of distinct ethnolinguistic units from their "homeland". They are, like language and identity, carefully constructed and managed social projects that are shaped by forces from within and from without. In Canada, the conditions for the institutionalization and (re)production of ethnolinguistic differences, which also make and mark class relations, are strengthened by the state’s multiculturalist policy. The Portuguese-Canadian community is one such ethnolinguistic market and the goal of this research is to examine which forms of portugueseness dominate the market, why and with what consequences for whom. Building from an ethnographic and critical sociolinguistic approach (Bourdieu 1977, Heller 2002), the qualitative data behind this research was produced through a two-year ethnography, participant observations and semi-structured interviews drawing primarily from six second-generation Portuguese-Canadians and members of their social networks. The findings suggest that the kind of portugueseness that dominates the Portuguese-Canadian market is one from Mainland Portugal; one that is folklorized, patriarchal, and that promotes (Mainland) Portuguese monolingualism and false cultural homogeneity. A consequence of this sociolinguistic structuration is a division between Azoreans and Mainlanders who make up two parts of the same Portuguese market; partners in conflict over the legitimacy and value of their linguistic and social capital. Furthermore, the inheritors of this market, the second and subsequent generations, navigate discursive spaces filled with contradictions that often marginalize them. Their experiences highlight strategic mobilizations of Portuguese language and identity, as well as the consequences of having delegitimized cultural and linguistic capital. In short, this dissertation highlights the productive tensions between structure and agency, between uniformity and variability, and between exclusion and inclusion.”