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ERIC Number: ED569565
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 262
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3039-2512-2
Cultivating "Convivencia": Youth and Democratic Education in Southeast Spain
Taha, Maisa C.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Arizona
"Convivencia", or conviviality/coexistence, represents a pivotal node in Spanish ideologies of multiculturalism. Touted as the legacy of interreligious harmony in Al-Andalus (A.D. 711-1492), contemporary pedagogical "convivencia" involves policies, curricula, and activities which idealize distinct ways of communicating and enacting egalitarianism across differences. This has become important as Spain struggles with increased cultural pluralism as a result of foreign immigration. Drawing on twelve months' fieldwork at three secondary schools in the municipality of El Ejido (Almeria), I approach education as a focal sphere in which to examine the daily construction and maintenance of this ideal. Specifically, I argue that the universalist bent of contemporary "convivencia" pedagogies tends to obscure and invalidate minority student perspectives. Moroccan youth, who are stereotypically associated with patriarchy, piety, and cultural traditionalism, found themselves at odds with the values most fervently promoted in "convivencia" lessons, especially gender equality. One unintended consequence of these educational interventions was that intolerance persisted not despite, but through, lessons on tolerance--a troubling finding for a place like El Ejido, which has seen some of the worst interracial violence in Europe. Audio recordings collected during democratic education classes and related activities reveal patterns in teacher-student and student-student interactions that speak to how "convivencia" was constructed (and undermined) as a discursive performance of progressivism. Stance prompting, stance assessment, and stance attribution comprised tools that allowed teachers to defend their situational and moral authority while compelling students toward self-reflection and empathy. These repertoires simultaneously acted as exclusionary mechanisms toward Moroccan youth, who were positioned as "others" unqualified to speak as progressive subjects. Using analytic frameworks from linguistic anthropology and building on studies of diversity and civic education, I argue that the dialogues analyzed in this dissertation represent tensions ever-present in projects of democratic equality. While the shape of these efforts have much to do with Spain's mottled history with democracy, these findings hold significance for educators everywhere insofar as heartfelt support for seemingly unassailable ideals--including human rights, gender equality, and racial equality--can smuggle in ethnocentrist biases. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain