‘Celtic Meets Slavic’: The Social Sustainability of Cornish and Silesian Heritage in Europe and Overseas


  • Katy C Humberstone University of Exeter
  • Adam Kubik Universität Heidelberg




Cornish, Silesian, minority languages, Cornish Mexicans, Silesian Texans, overseas, commodification, new media, diaspora, linguistic sustainability, linguistic landscape


Languages are subject to increasingly complex market conditions. This presents opportunities and challenges for sustainable development within minority communities, given tensions between identity and profit, particularly within regional tourism. Through a social sustainability lens,  this article compares the opportunities and challenges for sustainable linguistic and cultural practices across two contexts: Cornish and Silesian. It seeks to answer the extent to which these cultures are sustainable, and how their futures could look. We focus on two distinct yet broadly interrelated themes, predominantly within Cornwall and Silesia: (old and new) media and commodification. For commodification, we also integrate a dialogue on Cornish-Mexican and Silesian-Texan heritage. Whilst we see the increased presence of old media in both Silesian and Cornish, there appear to be challenges – across both contexts - in terms of new media resourcing. Whilst commodification is a dynamic present across both contexts, it seems to have accrued more momentum in Cornwall than Silesia. In diverse ways, both cultures appear to show different commodification dynamics in the Mexican and Texan overseas communities, when compared with Cornwall and Silesia. In concluding, this article poses questions around the increased visibility of small languages and cultures: how they may be made more visible without falling into the trap of misrepresenting communities’ culture(s) and language(s). Reaching across sites helps us sketch avenues for future exploration and policy innovation. The focus on sustainable growth kindled by this paper is important to empower minority communities, scope out new possibilities, and ensure long-term conservation of minority futures both within and beyond Europe.



25-04-2023 — Updated on 10-05-2023

How to Cite

Humberstone, K. C., & Kubik, A. (2023). ‘Celtic Meets Slavic’: The Social Sustainability of Cornish and Silesian Heritage in Europe and Overseas. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 22(1), 1–31. https://doi.org/10.53779/LMZX3988