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Le terme « Mauricien » : une représentation évolutive de l’idée de la nation mauricienne

Abstract : This study investigates the evolution of the meaning of the term “Mauritian” over a defined period of history (from the end of the 19th century until the 1950s). It aims to open up an area of research into the processes involved in the develop­ment of the Mauritian national identity. The research method, already developed by sociolinguists, is used here with an historical aim, in that our comments concentrate on the chrono­logical evolution of the meaning of the term. We will therefore be empha­sizing the development of this con­cept and its links with economical, social and political factors in Mauritius. After setting out the context of the discussion, there follows an analysis of testimonial accounts of local Mauritian sources. Lastly, in order to highlight the importance of context on this semantic evolution of the term, we take a detour to Mada­gascar to examine the meaning of this concept in the context of migrant populations. In Mauritius, it’s only in the 1950’s that the term “Mauritian” was used to refer to all natives of the island. In 1968, Independence mar­ked a symbolic and permanent end to the uncertainty surrounding the mea­ning of this term. During the 19th Century the term “Mauritian” included only the Caucasians of French origin, whereas between 1890 and 1940 it was significantly less clear as to which populations were included. Whether mixed raced, African, and Malagasy populations are included in this semantic category depends on the speaker. In the context of the colonial period, the right to attribute a name to someone or something, is revealing of the political changes in the complicated dominant power relations at play. To this end, the example of Madagascar conve¬niently reminds us that the meaning of certain words depends on the real or perceived power status of the speaker.
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Submitted on : Friday, December 17, 2021 - 11:41:43 AM
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Philippe Nunn. Le terme « Mauricien » : une représentation évolutive de l’idée de la nation mauricienne. Kabaro, revue internationale des Sciences de l'Homme et des Sociétés, L'Harmattan ; Université de La Réunion, 2005, L'identité et la construction de l'identité dans les îles du Sud-Ouest de l'océan Indien, III (3-4), pp.11-22. ⟨hal-03485411⟩



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