This chapter is based on the author’s doctoral research focused on the intersections between Primary schools’ treatments of pupils’ cultural backgrounds and their experiences and dynamics of academic dis/engagement. It is situated in a Mediterranean Coast area of Catalonia (Spain) that receives migrant families of very different sociocultural origins: mainly from extra-communitarian poor African, Latin American and Asian countries; but also “luxury” migrants from European Union countries who first came as temporary visitors and became permanent residents. Drawing on the findings of a comparative ethnographic fieldwork carried out in two different schools of the area -which included participant observation as assistant teacher or volunteer at the schools and focused interviews with teachers-, the text analyzes two modalities of institutional ethos that were apparently opposite in calibrating cultural diversity in regard to immigrant pupils’ outcomes: while in one of the schools community members consistently denied the local salience of ethnic-cultural variables, regarding themselves as colour-blind (Lewis, 2003), in the other school, more polarized in terms of class composition, national origin and linguistic diversity, culture in an essentialist conception (Franzé, 2002) raised as the key factor to explain academic trajectories. Eventually, the author shows how these two institutional ideologies contributed to a differential construction of the “distance” between family culture and school culture, far beyond objective characteristics of pupils and their families. And how this constructed cultural distance -and its implications in terms of inclusion/exclusion- had critical impacts on immigrant pupils’ experiences of academic engagement.
|Title of host publication||Ethnography and Difference in Educational Fields. International Developments of Educational Research.|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|