Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-xt4p2 Total loading time: 0.527 Render date: 2022-05-29T02:11:36.572Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

52 - Minority

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2019

Heather Williams
Affiliation:
University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth.
Get access

Summary

‘Minority’ literally refers to a group that makes up less than half of a whole, but in the politico-legal discourse that surrounds culture, it has less to do with numbers and rather more with balances of power. So while it would be problematic to describe the Welsh heard by the Romantic-era gentleman traveller in Wales as a ‘minority’ language (because it would have been spoken by the majority at that time), it would be correct to describe this language as oppressed, though the said traveller is more likely to have described it as a vestige, some fascinating survival of the past. ‘Minority’ describes the results of a process that takes place over time, and has to do with power and powerlessness, both economic and political.

In Europe the term grew out of a political concern for minorities, especially in the aftermath of war (Okey 2000), but of course has a comparable evolution in other parts of the world. It also extends to other groups such as the ‘disabled’, or (and here's proof that it has little to do with numbers) women, or can refer to ethnicity, race, wealth, religion or sexual orientation (see sex/sexuality), and its main collocations are ‘ethnic’, ‘language’ and ‘rights’. It is also a word in a major language that has been imposed on ‘minorities’ from the outside, in the same way that whole languages have been imposed by one powerful group on another (such as French imposed on Bretons). Translation studies have shown how the ‘minority’, in writing in the imposed language, can subvert it from within, by creating texts that are ‘radically bilingual’ (Mehrez 1992, 132). Taking a similar trajectory, this term, imposed from without, mainly used by politicians and sociolinguists, was seized, only to be shaken off.

Travel writing is necessarily about crossing borders between cultures, and there is invariably a power relation separating different cultures. The attitude of travel writing in majority languages (and this is the main source material used in travel writing studies to date) towards less powerful or ‘minority’ cultures, and the ethical question of travelling all over these is varied and evolving. Of course, travel and tourism shoulder some of the blame for the decline of cultural difference, even of language death (Minhinnick 1993; Cronin 2010, 335; 2014, 16).

Type
Chapter
Information
Keywords for Travel Writing Studies
A Critical Glossary
, pp. 151 - 153
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×