Silesian: between suppression in Poland and flourishing on the web

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The fall of communism in 1989 heralded the advent of democracy and individual freedoms in the former Soviet bloc countries, including Poland. In this country’s multiethnic region of Upper Silesia, during the communist period, the indigenous population of Silesians used to be lauded as ‘true Poles’ on the ideological plane, but in reality, they were treated as untrustworthy ‘crypto-Germans’. This sociopolitical dynamic underpinned the emergence of a Silesians regional-cum-ethnic-cum-national movement already in the early 1990s. The state reluctantly accepted the regional character of this movement but has been actively suppressing its ethnolinguistic dimension since 1997. Faced with the state’s staunch opposition, Silesian ethnolinguistic activists decided to limit their aspirations to the standardization and recognition of Silesian as a language in its own right. Such recognition was gained internationally in 2007, but thus far not in Poland. Meanwhile, the internet spawned deterritorialized cyberspace, where a growing array of Silesian-language initiatives and resources have been developed outside the state’s control. The Silesian-language cyberspace will guarantee freedom of expression as long as the Polish state does not decide to reassert its control on the web, like China or Iran already did.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguages and nationalism instead of empires
EditorsMotoki Nomachi, Tomasz Kamusella
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781003034025
ISBN (Print)9780367471910, 9781032559988
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023
Event2018 Winter International Symposium 'Language Rising Above Empires, Blocs and Unions, 1918-2018' - Slavic-Eurasian research Center, Hokkaido Univeristy, Sapporo, Japan, Sapporo, Japan
Duration: 13 Dec 201914 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge histories of Central and Eastern Europe


Conference2018 Winter International Symposium 'Language Rising Above Empires, Blocs and Unions, 1918-2018'
Internet address


  • Silesian language
  • Language politics
  • Language discrimination
  • Minority rights
  • Poland


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