“Words apart”: Performing linguistic and cultural identities in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia
Globalizing processes of late capitalism shape local cultures in complex and contradictory ways, exacerbating assimilation and alienation in geographically and culturally marginalized communities and, paradoxically, empowering disenfranchised groups by facilitating communication between diasporic populations and providing access to information, images, and commodities. This dissertation explores the ways in which linguistic difference, geographic isolation, and cultural marginalization have contributed to collective consciousness and feelings of distinctiveness in Chéticamp, an Acadian community in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. I examine forms of cultural work—such as genealogical research, community museums, and cooperative associations—as cultural performances in which community members envision and enact their Acadian identities. Performed identities are inauthentic in the sense that they are actively negotiated and subject to ongoing adaptation and transformation; yet they are also authentic in the sense that they are deeply felt and central to understandings of our experiences, our relationships, and our place in the world. Examining Acadian ethnic and linguistic identities through a performance lens thus illuminates possibilities for cultural survival in contexts of uncertainty and change.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups