"We are Kanaltaler!"—Regional and local identities in the quadrolingual Valcanale in Italy

Stefanie Vavti


In the Valcanale—a valley in the north-east of Italy—three European language families, Romans, Slavs and Germans have been living together peacefully for decades. In the villages four ethnic groups, Slovenes, Germans, Italians and Friulians have been sharing their lives and working together for many years. The autochthonous languages German and Slovene, however, have suffered dramatic losses and in a few years they could disappear altogether. In the following article the essential details of the research-project will be presented. With extracts from biographical life stories and narrative interviews, results about local and regional identities of the autochthonous people in the Valcanale will be documented: What are the self-concepts of the people living in this "melting pot"? What are people telling about their living together in a region, which until World War I was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire? The results indicate the following: a sense of local and regional awareness has been developed and keeps overlapping ethnic identity in the elderly generation. In contrast a loss of local and regional identities can be noticed on the part of the younger generation—in some cases connected with the desire to revive old costumes.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601344


ethnic diversity; ethnic identity; local identity; regional identity; Valcanale; traditional society; narrative interviews; biographic research

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-7.1.78

Copyright (c) 2006 Stefanie Vavti

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