Migration, educational policies, and practices: constructing difference in Buenos Aires and in Madrid

Ana Bravo-Moreno, Jason Beech

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of this chapter is to analyze the formal education of Latin American immigrants in the cities of Buenos Aires and Madrid. The comparison between the two cities is aimed at examining the ways in which differences in historical migration trajectories, legislation, educational policies, and broader social contexts have affected paths through education for immigrant students. Madrid and Buenos Aires have experienced substantial changes in the profile of their populations recently; the growth and visibility of ethnic plurality in two cities that saw themselves as having certain ethnic homogeneity has altered imagined homogenized identities and have placed political and educational systems under tremendous strain. New political, economic, educational and social tensions between groups often build upon previous socio-cultural constructions and historical relations of power between these groups. Thus, Spain’s colonial past and the image of Argentina as a European enclave in South America have a significant influence in the ways in which Latin American immigrants are othered. In both cities the overall approach is based on the notion of assimilation to an imagined mainstream culture. Within this general approach, misrecognition of the specific needs of immigrant students takes place in schools in both cities, although in very different forms. In the case of Madrid, differences are emphasized through compensatory programs in education. In Buenos Aires differences are obscured and, to a certain extent, ignored. Nevertheless, both educational systems need to re-think the way in which they deal with constructing difference and with injustices rooted in political inequality, economic disadvantage and socio-cultural patterns of representation of specific groups.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding Cultural and Social Differences in Processes of Learning
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789400714663
ISBN (Print)9789400714656
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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