Deciding where to belong : gender differences in educational trajectories and migration in a rural spanish town

Konvalinka, Nancy . (2007) Deciding where to belong : gender differences in educational trajectories and migration in a rural spanish town. EMIGRA Working Papers (n.2), 2007, p.1-18. ISSN: 2013-3804

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Título Deciding where to belong : gender differences in educational trajectories and migration in a rural spanish town
Autor(es) Konvalinka, Nancy
Resumen From an anthropological perspective, formal post-secondary schooling is not an abstractentity with an intrinsic value that everyone finds desirable, but rather one alternative among many that young people evaluate from their different positions in the social field. The problem discussed in this paper is the diverging life trajectories that young men and women in a concrete rural context, at the end of the 20th century, shape for themselves at the ages of 14-16, a moment of decision created by national legislation regarding mandatory education (LGE, 1970, General Education Law, and LOGSE, 1990, General Organic Law of the Education System). Despite a strong cultural norm of equal inheritance divided among all children, male and female, and despite the equal educational opportunities provided by the Spanish State, different meanings of possession and use-rights over land and the resulting culturally accepted gendered division of work converge to orient men and women differently towards post-secondary schooling. Observation of the age, gender, and civil status structure of the population led to the preliminary query: Why do men and women, in this town, behave differently with respect to migration and marriage? The main hypothesis was that women’s longer school trajectories and resulting migration and men’s anchoring in the town and their higher rates of celibacy were not drastic changes in values, in the positional-relational sense of Bourdieu (1988, 2002), but the current outcome of previously existing dissimilar relations to property that produce dissimilar mobility. Through their schooling and work choices, young men and women, at very early ages, locate themselves in, or decide to belong to, different contexts that later reveal very different possibilities of finding marriage partners. This paper is based on an ethnographic study of a small rural town (302 inhabitants in 1950; 193 in 2000) near Leon. Although this paper deals with the situation in the final decades of the 20th century, we must also consider the first half of the century, where some elements that shape this situation have their roots. Fieldwork was carried out between 1988 and 2001, in periods of differing length and intensity. The social subjects discussed here are the domestic unit and its component members. They were studied in conjunction, analyzing the life-trajectory decisions of specific persons in the framework of the domestic unit and the relations among people and property which comprise it. The tried-and-true methods of ethnographic research –participant observation, interviews, and life-histories, etc.- were employed. Archival research was also important for producing demographic data. Demographic analysis, the analysis of the composition and transformation of domestic units, and the creation of life trajectories were among the principal techniques used. The theoretical analysis was oriented by Bourdieu’s (2002) framework of the social field, habitus, and difference.
Editor(es) Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Fecha 2007-01-01
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Publicado en la Revista EMIGRA Working Papers (n.2), 2007, p.1-18. ISSN: 2013-3804
Idioma spa
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Creado: Thu, 26 Jan 2012, 10:12:12 CET