Accepted Paper:

Learning positions as future citizens at primary school: diverse conditions of incorporation for the children of immigrant families in the Catalan coast  


Beatriz Ballestín (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

The paper aims to analyze the construction of cultural distance between Primary schools and the children and families of immigration, in connection with the reproduction of a hierarchy of inclusion/exclusion of new citizenships that has consequences both on the differential attention and expectations schools give and on the strategies children display in response to this differential treatment.

Paper long abstract:

One of the main features that characterizes Primary state schools placed on the Mediterranean coast in Catalonia (Spain) is the reception of pupils coming from migrant families of very different sociocultural backgrounds: on one side, those from extra-communitarian poor African, Latin American and Asian countries; on the other side, "luxury" migrants from European Union countries..

Using the findings of a comparative ethnographic fieldwork carried out in two Primary schools of El Maresme, an area on the coast near Barcelona (one with a majority of pupils of working-class extra-communitarian families -mainly from North and West Africa-, the other welcoming children from diverse national and social origins), this paper will show how social prestige attributed to the local placement where schools are located, as well as social class composition, national origin, and linguistic diversity among pupils of the two chosen schools, contributed to a differential construction of the "distance" between family culture and school culture.

Consequently, on the one hand we will point up that the conceptualization of children in a hierarchy of inclusion/exclusion of new citizenships, extraneous to but reproduced by schools, is on the basis of the differential responses they give in terms of educational expectations and attention to pupils. On the other hand, we will analyze the consequences these experiences have for the children and their conditions of incorporation to the reception society, considering the differential strategies of engagement and disengagement they display both at the academic and social level.

Panel W076
Children and migration in Europe: between new citizenships and transnational families