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National Minorities

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Author Assif
#16 | Posted: 10 Jul 2008 19:59 
Edinburgh is not a capital of a sovereign state. If we do include regional capitals as well we run into a problem of handling many more such examples (Santiago, Barcelona, Lhasa, Kazan, Quebec, Dresden, Weimar, Saint Gall...). Here capital only means capital of a sovereign state which is the normal (umarked) use of the term.
UK is (as yet) an independent state within the sui generis loose confederation of the EU. If things change in the future so will the status of the Brittons. Bengalis do not have an independent state (yet).
I am no Englishman and I know I am taking a risk here in expressing my impressions in these identity sensitive issues, but this said - I repeat: UK is a state in which the Englishmen do not only constitute the mere majority. Their language (or more accurately a London/Oxford dialect), Royalties, Anglican leadership and cultural history are the predominant ones throughout the entire country. English is even often falsly understood is identical with British. London, the country undisputed economic, political and cultural centre, is located in England. I would therefore say I don't see the reason for connecting sites to the English culture, as virtually all UK sites but the ones connected to Scots or Welsh are indeed English. Would Solivagant refute Canterburry or the London WHSs being identified as English? I don't see any reason to include such national majority groups as they are included naturally by means of being represented generally by the national whs (that aren't applicable to a certain minority). This also saves us time (otherwise we might find ourselves connecting all cultural sites to some ethnic groupe or another).

Author Solivagant
#17 | Posted: 11 Jul 2008 02:47 | Edited by: Solivagant 
But is there no room in your model for such a thing as a "British" culture which sits above the cultures of the constituent parts/cultures within the UK (Or of such things as "Indian", or "Dutch" or "Canadian" etc cultures which sit above their constituent parts)? I most certainly would argue against viewing all sites located in England as being, ipso facto, connected to "English" culture - just as I would argue against all sites located in Scotland as being connected to "Scottish" culture etc etc.

Relatively few sites are strongly linked to a specific "National"/Ethnic" culture. After all these sites ARE supposed to be of "Universal significance"! Sites can potentially be cultural icons at different levels - using UK as an example, they can be significant at the sub national level (eg "Cornish)", at the "constituent nation" level (English, Scottish etc), at the sovereign state level ("British"), at the European and at even at the the Human level. I most certainly would NOT claim "Stonehenge" to be English, or even British for that matter - it is of universal human significance and happens to be situated in England but, in my view, has no particular significance to England or the English other than that. And why should Neolithic Orkney be regarded as "Scottish"? The cultures of the peoples who developed these have long passed and their genes have mingled with those from peoples of subsequent invasions and migrations. Now I concede that it MIGHT be that a site such as Stonehenge acquires, or has imposed upon, it a "cultural significance" giving it a mythical status within a modern culture. There is an element of this with Stonehenge where it has been hijacked by romantic visions of early "English" druids - but this is of no significance in mainstream English culture.

Among the 27 UK sites 3 are outside UK, 2 are in Wales, 1 in N Ireland, 4 in Scotland and 17 in England - Not surprising given relative geographic size and population. I am hard pushed however to identify sites which are culturally significant at the level of English, Scottish etc - unless we are going to count pure geographic location as the determining factor - surely not (and that would fail the "self evident" test!)? I am perfectly happy to allow that both Ironbridge (in England) and New Lanark (in Scotland) are representative of the Industrial revolution in Great Britain, Europe.... the World.
To answer Assif's question I certainly wouldn't claim such London sites as Westminster or Kew as being "English", And, as for Maritime Greenwich - a cultural symbol of England?? No - rather of "British" power/trade/influence. Many of the other cultural sites in UK are no more English/Scottish/Welsh than they are "British" - Hadrians Wall? Fountains Abbey? Saltaire?
And if we move on to some which might be English/Scottish or Welsh for instance. Canterbury and Edinburgh both present similar difficulties - they each carry significant baggage from the specific histories of England and Scotland - If Edinburgh can be assigned to "Scottish culture" (and I say "if") then Canterbury should be assigned to "English". But I personally wouldn't assign either.
Perhaps the "Tower of London" also carries particular resonances regarding English power. The Castles of Gwynedd, as Meltwaterfalls has pointed out actually represent English power OVER the Welsh even if they have become "much-loved" symbols of Wales (a similar situation to that of Kazan Kremlin in an earlier post?).

I have concentrated this discussion on the UK sites but I believe a similar analysis would result in similar conclusions for the sovereign states of India, Germany, Spain, Russia, China, Netherlands etc with regard to their ethnic/cultural constituents - whether minority or majority consituents.
a. Relatively few "cultural sites" are of particular significance at a specific Ethnic/cultural level - mere geographic location is not enough to determine "significance".
b. Not all cultural sites within a sovereign state have to be assigned to the individual cultural constituents of the state - many will "belong" to the culture of the entire state or even to greater cultural units beyond that state. There is no need to identify "connections" at these "sovereign state" (or higher) levels
b. All cultures should be regarded as "equal" in identifying connections for their cultural icons - being in a "majority" within a sovereign state is no reason for that culture's icons to be treated any less favourably or for that culture's icons to be regarded as being those of the entire state!

Author Assif
#18 | Posted: 11 Jul 2008 08:39 
Alright, I am not convinced of the main idea that there are truly seperate English and British identities in England (or in Germany, Spain, China...), but I give up and am willing to accept Solivagant's suggestion to list all ethnos and their related whs in prinicple.
A practical difficulty though would be avoiding the listing of hundreds of sites. Why should we list all whs related to the Chinese ethnos? or Arab? or German? or Italian? Isn't this going to be eccessively lengthy and in a way too trivial?
Regardless, I want to stress I do agree wholeheartedly with Solivagant that geographical location is no guarantee for establishing a connection.

Author elsslots
#19 | Posted: 12 Jul 2008 07:06 | Edited by: elsslots 
We're getting closer, but not close enough for a definition. I've noted down 'living', 'community', 'culture's icons'. It's also very close to cultural landscape (but doesn't have to be a landscape, can be a single site).

Sites that are definitely in (in my opinion):
- Laponian Area (Saami culture)
- Tongariro (Maori culture)
- Uluru (Australian Aboriginal)

Sites that aren't:
- all UK sites
- all Dutch sites
- 'dead' sites, archeological sites, sites relating to communities that aren't represented anymore in or around the site
- natural sites
- Kizhi

Sites to be discussed:
- Taos Pueblo (Pueblo)
- Statue of Liberty (American)
- Cliff of Bandiagara (Dogon)
- Ait Ben-Haddou (Berber)
- Acre (Israeli Arab)
- the four Chinese sacred mountains & Confucius site
- Japanese Kii mountain
- Gusuku (Ryukyu)
- Potala/Jokhang (Tibetans)
- ....

Author Assif
#20 | Posted: 12 Jul 2008 08:47 
I accept Els's suggestions. The only problematic one for me is the statue of liberty. It shouldn't be regarded to be more representative of the American people than Edinburgh is for the Scottish one, or the Seine for the French one, or the Chinese Wall for the Chinese one, or Cairo for the Arab one, or Rome for the Italian one etc etc etc.
A small remark to Solivagant - I didn't mean Scottish Gaelic before but Scots (closely related to English). As far as I know (and I'll be happy to know more), it has no official status in Scotland.

Author Solivagant
#21 | Posted: 12 Jul 2008 09:29 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hi Assif,
I am not going to die in a ditch over "Statue of Liberty" - I was using it as thought provoker and "boundary creator" about how to categorise sites with a cultural/ethnic identity.
Perhaps you can tell US more about why Acre should be regarded as so significant for Israeli arabs.
I still have great problems over the taxonomy of this subject since there is so little which is concrete to hang on to when arriving at "definitional distinctions"! It all seems to be about myth and belief.

Regarding "Scots" as a "language" - I put this word in quotes because of the problems of defining the boundary between "Language" and "Dialect". The politics of language means that "languages" often get formalised/differentiated for a political purpose. I know of no desire or pressure to formalise the "Scots" language even by Scottish nationalists (though I may be wrong on this). As I understand it there are even 2 dialects of it

a. "Lallans" which I referred to earlier (the language of Burns) eg
"They took nae pains their speech to balance,
Or rules to gie;
But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,
Like you or me."

b "Doric" - used in the North East eg
It wis jist a skelp o the mucklefurth.
A sklyter o roch grun.

Such "languages" always look "worse" when written down because spelling which follows the accent hides what are otherwise quite familiar words - but the former looks a lot closer to English than the latter!! Beyond this of course there is "Standard Scottish English" - different from "English English" just as "American English" is
But my Microsoft "Word" doesn't yet allow me to choose in the same way as I can choose to use American English! English is an unusual language in that it has no central control and, indeed in my view one of its glories is its ability to encompass such variety and novelty. Indeed when I play Scrabble I can agree with the other players that dialect words will be used from the Dictionary and can quite happily use words from "Lallans" - eg "Jo" (which can be very useful to get a good score with a "j"!!) - see Burns "For auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne,"
So I personally wouldn't use the lack of "Official recognition" for the Scots Language to infer anything about the status or otherwise of the Scots within the UK! But I have been waiting for Iain Jackson (from Scotland!) to weigh into this debate from a different viewpoint!

Author Assif
#22 | Posted: 16 Jul 2008 19:30 | Edited by: Assif 
Ok - I'll try to construct something postive and feasible for the time being. I'll start with Europe as it's the continent I know best. The same would have to be continues for the rest.
I will refer to this connection as "connected to a living ethnos" (no exceptions, Solivagant)
This still raise many problems but I'll try to adress them as they come.

Greeks - [should we relate to Ancient Greek sites as connected with the Greek ethnos? I would say yes. What about Byzantine sites? I would still say yes.]
Butrint, Gjirokastra, Troodos, Paphos, Agrigento, Aquilea, Ravenna, Syracuse, Troy, Xantos, Ephesos, all Greek sites

Catalans - [Andorrans, Belarians and Catalans (in France and Spain) regard themselves as such. Valencians usually don't. As to Spain - I'll exclude only the acknowledged national minorities: Andalusians, Catalans, Basques and Galicians)]
Andorra, Ibiza, all Catalan sites

Austrians - [I'll seperate them from Germans although this distinction is new for ethnos. Nonetheless German ethnos remains the default for sites outside these countries]
All Austrian sites apart from the railway.

Flemings - Brusselx2 (sites were constructed in a time where they were the majority), Bruges, Beguinage, Belfries (a Flemish symbol)

Waloons - Tournai

Bosniaks - Visegrad, Mostar (despite being originally Turkish)

Bulgarians - [I excluded the Thracians] Boyana, Ivanovo, Nesebar, Rila

Dalmatians - [many Istians and Dalmatians in Croatia feel ethnically distinct]
Split, Stari Grad, Trogir, Dubrovnik, Sibenik

Istrians - Porec

Czechs - [Moravian/Bohemian are not such strong ethnic identities. I ignore German influence apart from Valtice]
all sites apart from Brno, Lednice and Trebic

Danes - Roskilde, Elsinore

Estonians - Tallinn

Author Assif
#23 | Posted: 16 Jul 2008 19:39 | Edited by: Assif 
Fins - [ignoring Swedish influence]
Suomenlinna, Petajavesi, Rauma

Alsacians - Strasbourg
[I don't know how to deal with sites related to the Occitan speakers. I don't think they regard themselves as an ethnos though]


German - [ignoring the minor seccessionist movement in Bavaria]
most German sites + Lednice, Malburk, Auschwitz, Peac Churches, Fortified Churches

Hungarians - Budapest, Holloko, Pannonhalma, Tokaj, Ferto, Pecs

Irish - Bend and Boyne, Skellig Michael

Italians - [only Sardinians can be regarded as having their own ethnos, I think]
most sites + San Marino
Don't know about Castel del Monte

Sards - Nuraghi?

Lets - Riga

Lithuanians - Vilnius, Kernave, Mir, Niasvizh

Luxemburgers - [ethnos?] Luxemburg

Maltesians - Valletta

Montenegrin - Kotor (majority in the area and don't see themselves as Dalmatians)

Dutch - Amsterdam, Schockland, Willemstad

Norwegians - Roros, Bergen, Urnes

Author Assif
#24 | Posted: 16 Jul 2008 19:51 
Poles - Warsaw, Cracow, Wooden churches, Torun, Zamosc, Wieliczka, Kalwaria

Portuguese - all cultural sites of the country

Romanian - [ignoring historical differences between Moldavians and Vlachs]
Modlavian churches, Maramures, Harezu, Sighosoara?

Russians - Kiev?, Moscow, St Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Novgorod, Sergius Lavra, Kolomenskoye, Solovetsky Islands, Novodevichy, Ferapontov, Suzdal

Karelians - Kizhi

Tatars - Kazan

Azeri - Derbent, Baku

Author Assif
#25 | Posted: 16 Jul 2008 19:55 | Edited by: Assif 
Serbs - Kosovo, Sopocani, Studenica

Slovaks - all cultural sites in Slovakia

Andalusians - all cultural sites in Andalusia

Galicians - all cultural sites in Galicia

Spaniards - all the rest of the cultural sites

Swede - all relevant sites

Saami - Laponian area

Swiss - all relevant sites

Macedonians (Slavs not Greeks) - [I wouldn't consider them Bulgarians, as they themselves don't)

Author Assif
#26 | Posted: 16 Jul 2008 19:58 
I'm not getting into English/Welsh/Scottish right now. I'm leaving that to Solivagant...
Any other comments to my attempt.
How do you think it should be extended to other part of the world?

Author elsslots
#27 | Posted: 17 Jul 2008 01:10 
I think this is too wide, Assif. When we first started the Connections, I had in mind that a connection linked 3 to 20 sites at most. I can accept that sometimes there are just more of them (the Roman theatres, the Cathedrals, all Gothic or Romanesque buildings), but I think we still have to try to make it as specific as possible.

I would leave out all archeological sites for a start - I think that the sites themselves should be 'living' also (groups of people of the ethnos still live there).
Also I'm not sure about the religious sites - major pilgrimage sites may be yes.

Unless we can find a strong definition there's no end to this. I can feel there is something worthwhile in there, but we seem not be able to pinpoint it.

Author Assif
#28 | Posted: 17 Jul 2008 05:57 
Even if we ommit all archeological sites (something many ethnos would strongly oppose) we're still going to have too many sites. That was the idea of restricting the connection to minorities (whatever this exactly is). If we have a look at my proposal for Europe we see most sites are connected to a majority groupe within a country (of course one may still dispute my suggestion itself). If you do accept my analysis we could reduce it considerably by connecting only minority sites.

This would leave the following (for Europe):

Derbent - Azeris in Russia, Legzings

Kazan - Tatars

Kizhi - Karelians

Gjirokastra - Greeks in Albania

Andora, Ibiza and Catalan sites - Catalans

Santiago and Galician sites - Galicians

Andalusian sites - Andalusians

Strassburg - Alsacians

Porec - Istrians

Dubrovnik, Trogir, Stari Grad, Sibenik, Split - Dalmatians

Fortified churches - Transylvanian Hungarians

Saami - Laponian area

Sards - Nuraghi

Silesians - Churches of Peace

Scots - ??

Welsh - ??

And that's it. I think that should be sufficient without mentioning the majority ethnos in the states where they comprise the majority.
What do you think?

Author elsslots
#29 | Posted: 17 Jul 2008 08:27 
I would support that.

Author meltwaterfalls
#30 | Posted: 17 Jul 2008 10:17 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
I think it is getting closer but as with everything probably every site could be questioned.

I would think a little more investigation on some of the more generalised assumptions (e.g. is Poblet Monestry distintly Catalan? The two modernisme Sites in Barcelona certainly are)

Also with Santiago is a pilgrimage site something that can be distinctly associarted with one group? I am asking this as I don't know the answer, not as a criticism of inclusion and would like to know either way

As for the Welsh Castles in Gwynedd I still really can not decide on it, I think I would favour it being included as a welsh cultural site as they presently are an important part of the Welsh speaking community, even though they were set up to support English suppression to start with.

As for Bleanavon, I would identify this as being in the essential Welsh heartland, the Valleys of South Wales are home to the majority of the population and its industrial heart. It is perhaps hard to attribute a mining district to an identity but certainly in Britain mining and South Wales are almost synonyms so I think it is reasonable.

Also as a brief note to the above? Is someone from Luxembourg referred to as Letzbergish like the language?

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