First International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (FICYUrb)
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Pedro Abrantes

(Symbolic) walls between schools and historical neighborhoods

Pedro Abrantes
CIES-ISCTE

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     Last modified: May 30, 2007
     Presentation date: 06/11/2007 2:30 PM in ISCTE-II C201
     (View Schedule)

Abstract
Both Lisbon’s and Madrid’s historical center public secondary schools lie between the pride in a high-status history and the failure in approaching actual publics, mainly low class teenagers, many of them immigrants. Their agents usually explain huge school failure rates and bullying with local “social problems”, but their knowledge of the neighborhoods are often impressionistic or even mythified and moralist. Neither educational project nor most teachers’ action is committed with contemporary social reality of these schools. There is a climate of tensions and accusations among these schools, competing for the (rare) middle-class students. On the other side, pupils have an experience deeply involved in sociability networks and cultural patterns of their neighborhood, being school life (but rarely academic progression) a fundamental environment for identity formation.

In this paper, I purpose to present results from an ethnographic research taken place in Madrid’s and Lisbon’s city center schools, including participant observation, interviews to teachers, a survey to all 12-years-old students and “identity games” organized with them. This analysis is focused on three axis: (1) schools’ strategies concerning their local environment; (2) schooling pathways in the city center, intersecting social and geographical variables; (3) life courses and identity projects of young people (and their families), crossing neighborhood’s and school’s universes.

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