This article explores the recontextualisation process of educational diversity in the context of recent educational policy changes in Spain. The article, based on Bernstein's theory of the structuring of pedagogic discourse, argues that the concept of educational diversity can be understood as a pedagogic device structured by a set of rules which regulate the distribution and understanding of its possible meanings. The analysis is based on an empirical study developed during two years (1996-98) in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. This research project combined the exploration of education policy documents and pedagogic texts with teacher and headteacher interviews carried out in four secondary schools. The article presents the complex methodological strategies developed and the main results obtained from the analysis. Three main processes (individualisation, normalisation and professionalisation) are identified as internal rules that regulate the recontextualisation process of educational diversity. Although these rules take different forms in each recontextualising field, the article will show that they reduce the concept of educational diversity to individual differences. © 1999, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.