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Language and Muslim Immigrant Childhoods: The Politics of Belonging

ISBN: 978-0-470-67333-1
376 pages
June 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Language and Muslim Immigrant Childhoods: The Politics of Belonging (0470673338) cover image


This revealing analysis of everyday language use among Moroccan immigrant children in Spain explores their cultural and linguistic life-worlds as they develop a hybrid, yet coherent, sense of identity in their multilingual communities. The author shows how they adapt to the local ambivalence toward Muslim culture and increased surveillance by Spanish authorities. 

  • Offers ground-breaking research from linguistic anthropology charting the politics of childhood in Muslim immigrant communities in Spain
  • Illuminates the contemporary debates concerning assimilation and alienation in Europe’s immigrant Muslim and North African populations
  • Provides an integrated blend of theory and empirical ethnographic data
  • Enriches recent research on immigrant children with analyses of their sense of belonging, communicative practices, and emerging processes of identification
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

1. Introduction 1

2. Moros en la Costa: The Moroccan Immigrant Diaspora in Spain 28

3. Learning About Children’s Lives: A Note On Methodology 61

4. Moroccan Immigrant Childhoods in Vallenuevo 88

5. The Public School: Ground Zero for the Politics of Inclusion 125

6. Learning How to Be Moroccans in Vallenuevo: Arabic and the Politics of Identity 183

7. Becoming Translators of Culture: Moroccan Immigrant Children’s Experiences as Language Brokers 221

8. Heteroglossic Games: Imagining Selves and Voicing Possible Futures 257

9. Conclusion 289

Appendix 1: Working with Video-Recorded Discourse Data 307

Appendix 2: Arabic Transliteration Symbols 310

References 311

Index 349

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Author Information

Inmaculada Ma García-Sánchez is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, where her research focuses on language and the immigrant experience; language and culture in educational contexts; language and racialization; and language socialization in immigrant communities. Her work on immigrant children has been published in journals such as Linguistics and Education, Pragmatics, and Multicultural Perspectives, and she contributed to The Handbook of Language Socialization (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). García-Sánchez has received numerous awards for her work, and in 2012 was granted a postdoctoral fellowship co-funded by the National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation.
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“Overall, Garcia-Sanchez presents linguistic analysis and data in a way that balances sophistication of argument with clarity and accessibility to those without extensive linguistic training. As a result, this monograph should be appealing both to seasoned scholars and undergraduate students in linguistics and linguistic anthropology, as well as to cultural anthropologists and social scientists interested in Europe, migration, and childhood.”  (Anthropos, 1 October 2015)

“...García-Sánchez’s book adds to the current literature on socialization, identity construction, and immigration by showing how these larger issues can have direct impact on how the children of immigrants perceive themselves as accepted members of their societies.”  (Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 18 May 2015)

"Richly ethnographic, Garcia-Sanchez offers us a penetrating view of the politics of belonging shaped through the everyday interactions of Moroccan adolescents living in Spain; a must-read for anyone concerned with social inequality and discrimination."

 Barbra Meek, University of Michigan

“Theoretically sophisticated and ethnographically grounded, this beautiful book offers new insights into the politics of belonging.  Garcia-Sanchez takes on critical issues of our times—immigration, racism, multilingualism, multiculturalism—by listening to the everyday voices of Moroccan children in Spain. Her creative perspective provides startling conclusions with important political  implications.”

 Ayala Fader, Fordham University


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