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Accepted Paper:

“It's simple: you just need a few people to get organizing a demonstration.” Speaking Basque and becoming/being “kontzientziatuta” in Pamplona-Iruñea (Spain).  
Nastja Slavec (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU))

Paper Short Abstract:

In this ethnographic paper, I analyze how Basque speakers who don't necessary conceive of themselves as activists have come to feel empowered and compelled to act together for socio-linguistic change, while I also reflect on my experience of becoming “kontzientziatuta” in the field.

Paper Abstract:

In conversations with Basque speakers in Pamplona-Iruñea (Navarre, Spain), four concepts are often mentioned: language, community, “kontzientzia” (consciousness/awareness) and “militantzia” (activism). Although they don’t usually describe themselves as activists, my research participants invest considerable effort in various forms of Basque language and cultural activism. Indeed, for some of them, speaking Basque and being Basque – in a context where the language is minoritized and where vestiges of past conflicts still reverberate – seems to entail a subjective orientation towards action, a commitment to their community, and resistance to hegemony. In particular, living in the Basque language is, for them, both a “natural” way of life and a decision, the result of a process of conscientization, that must be constantly reaffirmed through activist-like practices.

In this paper, I dwell on the research participants' reflections on being/becoming “kontzientziatuta” (aware of one's position (as a minority language speaker) and the urge for activistic engagement), which involve a genealogy of family and collective narratives and experiences of oppression and resistance. I avoid defining whether my research participants are (or could be considered) activists or not, and instead foreground the experiential ways and intersubjective processes by which they come to feel empowered and compelled to act for/enact socio-linguistic change. The ethnography is interwoven with a personal account of how researching in a socio-cultural and affective context in which community mobilisation seemed an always feasible possibility and in which alternative socio-linguistic worlds were being actively prefigured, has changed my sense of agency and made me “kontzientziatuta”.

Panel P238
Becoming/ being an activist: reflections on a key political subjectivity of late capitalism
  Session 2 Friday 26 July, 2024, -