337. Language Politics and Language Policies in the Contemporary Western Balkans: Infinitives, Turkisms and EUrolinguistics
April 2007 - Although the Western Balkans today is generally construed as Albania and former Yugoslavia, from the point of view of Balkan linguistics, Greece is also in this region. Here I shall examine some recent policy and political developments through the prisms of linguistics and of language ideology, i.e., the ways people think about language. Because language is both act and artifact—it exists in documents and the minds of speakers but at the same time it is constituted by everyday practices—the intersections of linguistics and politics are complex. This is true in Western Europe no less than in the Western Balkans, as can be seen, for example, in official French persecution of regional languages from 1794 to 1951, the 1972 statement of Georges Pompidou, then President of France, that there was no place for regional languages in France, the exclusion of Breton schools from French public funding in 2002 (Mercator-Education: Breton, 2003), the recent contretemps over the use of Occitanian in examinations ("L'occitan interdit en Ile de France?" Communique: Federacion dels Ensenhaires de Lengua e Cutlura d'Oc, 31 October 2006), etc. It can even be argued that EU ideologies of inclusiveness are being reflected in certain types of linguistic research that peripheralize the Balkans. In order to provide the necessary context for the following discussion, I will give a brief outline of some basics of Balkan linguistics.
April 2008 - (This article was written as part of Dr. Merdjanova's research at the Wilson Center and published at Religion Dispatches.) In the cacophony of voices in the European public square in the wake of the Fitna controversy, two broader lines can be discerned. While the protagonists of interreligious and intercultural toleration—in both secular and church-related circles—constitute a clear majority, the message sent by Wilders has not fallen on deaf ears.
Hungary is one of those countries which, starting from a semi-peripheral position, have for centuries tried to catch up with the west. And it is a country which has failed at it again and again. Its elites have drawn up and tried to implement program after program. They have devised new economic and social models, failing again and again. This paper analyzes the emergence of an "alternative society" in Hungary since the 1950s. What do we mean by an "alternative society"? Or a "second society"? Does one really exist? And if it does, what is it like? What are its origins? What role has it played? How does it relate to the official, "first society"? What are the prospects for its further development?
February 1998 - Has fast reform in Russia and some East European countries created the right incentives for an orderly capitalist economy to develop? Or has it opened the door to a tyranny of the strong over the weak? These are crucial institutional questions raised by the shock therapy strategy of transformation in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Latin America.