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Disputes over language policy are a persistent feature of the political life of many states around the world. Multilingual countries in the West such as Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Canada have long histories of conflict over language rights. In many countries in Eastern Europe and the Third World, efforts to construct common institutions and a shared identity have been severely complicated by linguistic diversity. Indigeus languages around the world are in danger of disappearing. Even in the US, where English is widely accepted as the language of public life, the linguistic rights of Spanish-speakers are hotly-contested. Not surprisingly, therefore, political theorists have started to examine questions of language policy, and how they relate to broader issues of democracy, justice and rights. This volume provides the reader with an up-to-date overview of the emerging debates over the role of language rights and linguistic diversity within political theory.
Alan Patten is Associate Professor of Political Science, McGill University