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The aspect of culture in social inclusion of ethnic minorities : assessing language education

Der Aspekt der Kultur bei der sozialen Inklusion ethnischer Minderheiten : der Sprachunterricht
[journal article]

Schmidt, Ulrike

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Abstract 'The aim of this article is to highlight a change in the European Union's 'Lisbon Strategy' since its launch seven years ago, in terms of putting more emphasis on culture as an important aspect of social inclusion. The article focuses on a research project coordinated in 2006 by the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), which reviewed and assessed cultural policies aimed at the social inclusion of ethnic minorities introduced in the National Action Plans (NAPs) on Social Inclusion of five new member states of the European Union: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. Sweden was additionally included in the study with the initial idea of serving as a benchmark in terms of best practices for promoting the inclusion into mainstream society of 'persons born outside Sweden' in its educational and cultural policies. The article will focus on language education policies that have been introduced in the six NAPs. Although it is still too early to draw conclusions on the impact of such policies on the social inclusion of ethnic minorities or on the creation of equal opportunities for all, a clear tendency can be made out within the EU to emphasize more the importance of considering culture when creating an environment that encourages the social inclusion of minority groups. Section I of this article will give a short outline of the motivation behind conducting research on the link between cultural aspects and the social inclusion of ethnic minorities within the OMC framework. Section II further elaborates on the importance of education- and language education policies in particular - for the promotion of the social integration of linguistic (ethnic) minorities in multiethnic societies and the creation of the grounds for their equal access to the labour market. Section III provides an overview of how effectively the six EU member states under evaluation have promoted ethnic inclusion through the education and language policies adopted in their NAPs from 2004-2006. At the same time, it will demonstrate the difficulties that the researchers encountered in collecting data and thus establishing reliable results. This problematic will be taken up again in the concluding Section V, where recommendations are presented as to how the countries under evaluation as well as other EU member states and those on the verge of accession can effectively promote sustainable social inclusion of ethnic minorities with cultural policies and how effectively the OMC can potentially contribute to this aim.' (author's abstract)
Keywords Baltic States; Estonia; ethnic group; culture; cultural policy; Latvia; minority; minority rights; social integration; language instruction; Slovenia; EU; Czech Republic; minority policy; USSR successor state; post-socialist country; inclusion
Classification Population Studies, Sociology of Population; Special areas of Departmental Policy
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages 28 p.
Journal JEMIE - Journal on ethnopolitics and minority issues in Europe, Vol. 6 (2007) Iss. 1
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
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