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Protecting Minority Language, Preserving Cultural Membership

3156 words - 13 pages

Protecting Minority Languages; Preserving Minority Cultures

A minority culture of any given country is often found in a particular region of that country because all members of the cultural group are needed to outbid the present majority in the same area for the resources, thus establishing the area as their homeland and a symbol of the group’s cultural identity. This exhibition of localized minority cultural conglomeration can be seen across many multicultural nations because if members do pursue their own ideal way of life they would be “forced to try to execute their chosen life-styles in an alien culture” (Kymlicka 188) These minority cultures are thusly envious of the majority ...view middle of the document...

Within multicultural nations, language policies should be constructed in order to preserve minority languages by establishing it as a recognized or national language, but not the official language, and provide the education of the minority language to the minority group if desired.
Rawls would support such actions to protect the minority language because “the parties in the original position would wish to avoid at almost any cost the social conditions that undermine self-respect” where “the loss of cultural membership is one such condition.” (Kymlicka 166) Rawls argues that social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are “reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage” (Rawls 53), and the departure from a list of primary goods, namely liberty, is only justified if it betters those most disadvantaged. Similarly, the importance of language as a primary good can be stressed through the same argument: language, which defines culture, provides the cultural structure that is recognized as a “context of choice” and “is a good in its capacity of providing meaningful options for us.” (Kymlicka 166) Freedom of liberty is required to support Rawls’ concept of self-respect, the precondition of carrying out a life plan; however the precondition of having a life plan is the context of choices as provided by language and the culture it represents, therefore, Rawls’ argument can be used to support protecting minority cultures and their language as a primary good.good
The underlying component of Rawls’ theory is the original position under the veil of ignorance, which contributes in determining the most justified scenarios to support social and economic inequalities. Under this initial scenario, “no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does any one know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities” (Rawls 11) His concept disregards morally irrelevant considerations, such as the relevant sizes of cultural groups, which will affect the principles meant to allocate the benefits of social cooperation. Hence, under the veil of ignorance, policies regarding languages can be made without the majority culture disregarding minority languages due to supposed social burdens the extra consideration may create. One’s cultural membership is largely a contingent result of birth. This is one crucial linkage between Rawls and Kymlicka.
Language is the resultant vehicle used to preserve cultures, and cultures are meant to be sustained because of the value that the membership to a culture provides to an individual. Kymlicka defines culture “in terms of the existence of a viable community of individuals with a shared heritage (language, history, etc.).” (Kymlicka 168) Culture is not constricted to the current norms, allowing it to transcend through generations which creates an inexplicable bind of a member to...

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