Linguistic Cultural Capital among Descendants of Mixed Couples in Catalonia, Spain: Realities and Inequalities

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Spain, along with the region of Catalonia in particular, has seen a significant increase in mixed unions between immigrants and natives, which, in turn, has given rise to a growing number of young people with mixed origins. Yet little is known about how these mixed families and individuals negotiate cultural differences and view their ‘mixed cultural capital.’ Drawing on 29 in-depth interviews with youth of diverse mixed cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds residing in Catalonia and 58 in-depth interviews with immigrants in mixed unions, this paper focuses on the role of language as a form of cultural capital. Do mixed families use a number of languages in their everyday lives? Which languages are transmitted, preferred, and used, and why? We find that mixed families are generally multilingual, as the knowledge of different languages is thought to contribute to communication with relatives, social integration, and social mobility. However, children and youth of mixed descent who belong to minoritized ethnic or racial groups may resist learning or actively using the language of their immigrant parent to avoid stigmatization and socially imposed categories of ‘foreignness.’ Therefore, stigmatization and prejudice may be limiting linguistic cultural capital–a key benefit of mixedness–in Catalonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-450
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018


  • Islamophobia
  • Multilingualism
  • cultural capital
  • discrimination
  • ethnicity
  • intermarriage
  • minority
  • mixedness
  • prejudice


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