This research is a case study carried out in a context of social segregation in Barcelona, Spain. It aims at exploring the sociocultural identifications of Central and South American mothers and children, as they emerge from their participation in school practices at a Primary Education school in the Catalan capital. In this research project, we draw on cultural and cultural-historical psychology to examine identity as constructed in sociocultural practices. Through this theoretical lens, identity is understood as situated, relational, distributed, multiple and as a mediating tool. At the same time, identity has a guiding role in interpreting, understanding and acting, in accordance with individual motives, goals, and socially and culturally legitimate practices; that is, practices which are accepted by others, communities, institutions or society, and are in turn transformed by subjects at a local level. Through a situated approach to identity construction in sociocultural practices, the subjects’ lived experiences of participation become relevant in that they reveal the complex meanings that the mothers and children themselves attribute to their current life; the construction of socio-cultural relations and identifications and the ways in which different identities imbue school activities in an immigration context. From this perspective, identity emerges at the nexus of discourse and activity that goes beyond macro categorizations based on national origins of immigrant populations. To these ends, we developed and applied a qualitative research design and drew on multiple sources, ethnographic methods and strategies of data collection. Specifically, we used participant observation, a systematically-kept field diary, in-depth interviews and focus groups. The compiled data were organised, coded and analysed using the Atlas-Ti software based on Grounded Theory. The results of this research illustrate the emergence of multiple identities, which children, teachers and mothers create and recreate in their daily participation in school life. Nonetheless, the analysis of practices and discourse indicates that the identity model of the “good/bad student” predominates in these family and school settings; this identity model is based on behaviour and the stereotype of low performance associated with the gypsy; an ethnic group that has historically been part of school population. In line with the context of social segregation in Barcelona, in which the families from Central and South America were placed, this predominance seems to overshadow the diversity of the student population and contribute to/have set conditions for a poor recognition of multiple identities and their potential use-value. Instead, such stereotypical views have historically been considered and enacted as constraints to interaction, participation and learning for gypsy/immigrant children in many repertoires of practice.
|Date of Award||28 Feb 2013|
|Supervisor||Maria Isabel Crespo Garcia (Director)|