Institutional Work of Regional Language Movements: Options for Intervention at the Regional LevelTaken Brittany as an Example

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper investigates what possibilities exist for local-level authorities and other strategic actors in the field to encourage the social use of a regional language in all domains of life. First, the sociolinguistic situation in Brittany is outlined and evaluated using secondary data. Second, a qualitative study (in-depth interviews) was conducted to provide further insights into the interdependencies between the different actors in the field of the Breton language policy, and revealed options for policy instrument development by regional governments. Institutional theory is used as a theoretical framework in order to assess distinct practices and instruments for promoting a regional language. Existing and frequently claimed measures are assigned to different forms of institutional work (e.g. mobilisation of support, imitation of best practices); they are performed by the stakeholders in the field and are aimed at boosting the social use of a language. From this institutional perspective, we observe intensive efforts by single persons, organisations and communities (institutional work) and solutions (institutions or socially accepted practices) for introducing institutional change. There is still additional and unused room to manoeuvre at the regional level and a lack of planning for operational implementation. The analysis shows that three forms of institutional work should be further developed in particular, namely: mimicry, theorising and educating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101ff
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 602048 Sociolinguistics
  • 602004 General linguistics
  • 602042 Romance studies
  • 506009 Organisation theory

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