Narrating the conflict: Latino students in Madrid

Adriana Patiño

University Autonoma of Madrid, Spain


The Spanish Educational System currently host students from different countries, especially from Latin America. Integration for these students would be expected to be an easy process considering that they share the same language, Spanish. However, contrary to this commonsensical idea, the study of interactional practices, in a high school that concentrates Latino students, has shown us problematic relationships between local teachers and their new students (Martin Rojo, et al, 2003-2007). Conflicts in the classroom, as well as representations of practices done by participants, are seen as hints of transformations in an educational system that was not prepared to receive newcomers.

Our purpose in this communication is to explore the ways in which Latino teenagers narrate their experiences of confrontation, giving their own perspective and explanation of the related events. Their “imposed” and “adopted” identities (Hamann, et al. 2001), as well as the categorization practice they engage in about other’s identities and actions allows us to reflect about the impact of these discourses over the statistics of school failure in this educational centre.

These narrative practices will be explained following Critical Sociolinguistics (Heller, 2001; Rampton, 1995, Martín Rojo, 2006), which involves ethnographic observations, analysis of interaction and discursive/narrative practices. We will take into account interrelated orders: (i) interactional, in which agents produce and reproduce the rituals of schools and classrooms and the ways they understand their own practices (Goffman, 1974); (ii) social, taking into account the migratory context in Spain and the educational policies for dealing with diversity, as well as the consequences these policies has brought for educational practice; and (iii) institutional which shapes what is said and how it is said, according to who counts as a good student and what is considered legitimate knowledge.

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Goffman, Erwin (1974) Frame Analysis. An essay on the organization of experience. London: Harper and Row.

Hamman, Edmund et al. (2001) Education and Policy in the New Latino Diaspora.

Heller, Monica. 2001. “Undoing the macro/micro dichotomy: Ideology and categorisation in a linguistic minority school”. In C. Candlin, N. Coupland & S. Sarangi: Sociolinguistics and Social Theory. London: Longman, pp.212-234.

Martín Rojo, Luisa & Laura Mijares (2007) Voces del aula. Etnografías de la escuela multilingüe Madrid: CREADE/CIDE.

Rampton, Ben (1995) Crossing: Language and Ethnicity Among Adolescents. London: Longman.

Session: Paper session
Narratives 4
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 09:00-10:30
room: 13