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Cultural Diversities Among Primary School Teachers: a Comparison Between Italy and Austria

TitleCultural Diversities Among Primary School Teachers: a Comparison Between Italy and Austria
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCavaliere ALuisa
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Start Page85
Date Published10/2019
PublisherPadova University Press
Place Published Padova, IT
ISSN Number 2035-4983
Keywordscomplexity, educational policies, European diversity, primary school teachers

This research aims to understand whether, in which sense and to what extent the category of primary school teachers working in culturally and religiously diverse European schools and societies is itself internally diverse. Processes of globalization, migration and identity building represent the theoretical landscape of this comparative study, promoting the dialogue between Central and South European contexts – beyond political and epistemological relations of hegemony – in the face the contemporary global challenges. The research carried out in Graz (Austria) and in Milan (Italy) between 2016 and 2017, was based on semi-structured interviews, participant observations and immersive ethnography. A representative sample of 47 subjects including ongoing and future primary school teachers shared their opinions and representations about the existing and conceivable range of diversity – intended in accordance to the paradigm of complexity – in the teacher category. Tertiary teacher education emerges as featured by reflexivity and flexibility in Italy, by a stronger connection to schools and in-service teachers in Austria. Religions confirm their character of bright boundaries in both de-secularized, surprisingly still strongly Catholic societies, while the role of languages in incoming and outgoing mobility varies significantly between the two inquired contexts. Finally, we outline the advantages of diversity in teacher category.