Sociocultural and Linguistic Integration of Students of Immigrant Origin in Catalonia: A Longitudinal Perspective

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Vanessa BRETXA, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Llorenc COMAJOAN, Universitat de Vic-Universitat Central de Catalunya, Spain
F.Xavier VILA, University of Barcelona, Spain
One of the challenges faced by knowledge societies is how to manage successfully the growing ethno-linguistic and cultural diversity that are found in such societies as a result of the populations’ geographical mobility. After a century of immigration, Catalan society has developed its own model of education based on the principles of intercultural inclusiveness. This model is based on the premise that linguistic and cultural integration is essentially built from engaging in common activities with peers rather than as a result of exposure to purely academic teaching content (Vila 2012).

The results of the Catalan education system in terms of sociocultural integration may be considered contradictory in some respect. On the one hand, available studies confirm that initial differences in linguistic competence by different groups are blurred considerably by the end of secondary education, at least for those students fully schooled in the Catalan education system. However, several studies (Benito and Gonzàlez 2007, 2009; Sánchez 2009) indicate that the degree of school segregation based on ethnicity and cultural origin remains considerable.

The database for this study is based on a survey on language competence and use in Catalan and Castilian. The participants were 1,050 students of diverse origin and residing in various locations throughout Catalonia who were followed longitudinally over a period of 7 years (from 6th grade of primary education until the second year of post-compulsory education).

This paper aims to analyze to what extent the bilingualization of the different groups of immigrant origin is coupled with a significant lowering of intergroup boundaries. More specifically, the study analyzes the evolution of the integrative process of a sample of immigrant students on the basis of four main variables: the composition of their social networks, their patterns of cultural consumption, their attitudes towards Catalan and Castilian and their ethno-national identification.