Friendship networks of the foreign students in schools of Barcelona: impact of class grouping on intercultural relationships

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Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd This paper account for the relational dynamics that take place in high schools: the interculturality level in the networks of foreign students. Relational networks are characterized by their composition based on origin, identifying those exclusively consisting of native students, those in which only foreign students interact, and the intercultural networks themselves, where native and foreign students coexist. At this stage, I analyse the organizational factors that impede the integration of immigrant students in relational networks with presence of native students, as well as other factors that support the establishment of such networks. Specifically, the analysis focuses on how the organization of school classrooms impact the establishment of more or less intercultural relational networks. In short, there is one concern that motivate this paper: the existence of school dynamics that enhance ethnic ghettoization within schools and, therefore, impede social integration. This research includes the analysis of all students enrolled in the last year of compulsory education (16 years-old) of eight high schools in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (for a total of 664 students from 28 classes). The analytical exploitation is based on a quantitative approach and network analysis (UCINET and Netdraw). Main findings show that the identification of the classrooms with certain ability levels seems to imply a greater barrier between classrooms, which can lead to a greater or lower relational cohesion within the class, according to school organitzation. By contrast, ability levels do not have a direct impact on the degree of intercultural contact; although they do exert a significant influence, defining the possibilities of contact between groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-78
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • Ability groups
  • Ability levels
  • Education
  • Friendship
  • Intercultural contact
  • Intercultural relations
  • School organization
  • School segregation
  • Social integration
  • Social network analysis

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