Anthropology in Action
This issue provides striking examples of how current educational policies and practices play a fundamental role in processes that constitute immigrant and ethnic minority children as ‘others’. This collective compendium not only interweaves theory and practice but also initiates a trans-Atlantic conversation about intercultural education embracing ethnographic cases from North America (Texas), South America (Bolivia) and Europe (Spain). These conversations lead towards an interesting exercise of similarities and differences in how interculturality is used and understood in the classroom, based on the local fluid composition of ideological, ethnic, political and economic factors. The exercise in comparison of these intercontinental ethnographic exercises points out crucial common themes that authors use as prisms to show the articulation of education policies and epistemological contradictions. It is with particular attention that these contributions examine educational policies and practices in intercultural contexts and their effects in essentializing the concept of culture as if it were a fixed attribute believed to determine students’ behaviours, attitudes, school expectations and social relationships. Most of the ethnographic cases presented clearly document how cultural differences, rather than being seen as an asset in intercultural education contexts, are more often understood in terms of ‘deficits’. In sum, the core anthropological contribution of these articles is centred on the analysis of the processes that lead to cultural reifications, how these transform into stereotypes that weigh down students’ trajectories in schools, and how this culminates in the very opposite of the original intention of educational policies.
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Lucko, Jennifer and Re Cruz, Alicia, "Interculturality: Where Do We Go From Here?" (2013). Education | Faculty Scholarship. 6.