Images of the Other in Childhood: Researching the Limits of Cultural Diversity in Education from the Standpoint of New Anthropological Methodologies
multicultural education , cultural education , early childhood education
This paper presents the justification, methodology, main results and pedagogical implications of a study on how children represent others, carried out with primary school children in the Madrid Autonomous Community. Based on a methodological design suggested by the new ways Cultural studies and Visual anthropology provide for approaching reality, we have tried to answer the question, “What do these children see in the images of those who are culturally different?” One of the results of the study indicates how cultural differences such as customs and forms of dress outweigh physical differences such as skin color in the representations the children made of others. Most of all, the results reveal the great richness of detail the children saw hidden behind the images of others. We should take steps so that the current education system’s efforts to promote tolerance and recognition do not drown that rich and varied detail in conceptions of cultural diversity that are too narrow and unyielding. Now more than ever, cultures ought not be seen as closed units that build walls and unsavable limits between themselves, but as sets of interacting trends. Educating in a multicultural environment thus means teaching to see the relativity and artificiality of cultural borders, helping to find the “you” living in the other, the particular biography superseding all tags and labels.