This book examines the interplay between regional, national and transnational dimensions of identity and language in the Danish and, to a lesser extent, the German minority communities of the Danish-German borderlands. The study shows that the minorities function as two closely-linked and supplementary groups to the national majorities. German language dominates most spheres in both minorities, yet bilingualism and code-switching are essential to minority life and defining group identity. Furthermore, whilst national identities are of a lesser importance to the minorities today than regional or transnational identities, minority identity is still nonetheless hybridised from its roots in the national cultures and languages of Denmark and Germany. The minorities are thus able to “cherry-pick” social, economic, political and linguistic capital from both nations. This book provides a fresh critical understanding of borderlands as living spaces and proposes a theoretical framework for the study of hybrid and dual minority identities, rooted in theories from nationalism studies, sociology, anthropology and sociolinguistics.
Ruairidh Tarvet, Ph.D, is a teaching fellow in Scandinavian studies at the University of Edinburgh. Tarvet is a regular speaker/attendee of the Nordic Research Network conference series and organiser of the Scandinavian Research Seminar Series at The University of Edinburgh and contributor to national newspapers on issues related to nationalism, national minorities, identity and Scandinavia.