La producción social de itinerarios de inserción: análisis de la Formación Profesional de base desde una perspectiva de justicia social

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The main purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the educational practices in the educational contexts of basic Vocational Education and Training from a perspective of social justice in order to describe the itineraries they produce and their impact on the young students who experience them. Together with our main interest we aim to understand the transition phenomenon from a pedagogical perspective that emphasizes the social relations produced within the educational institution. The study of social inequalities produced and reproduced in the educational system is addressed in this research from a theoretical ground of social justice based on a dimensional conception of the term following mainly the contributions of Nancy Fraser. In this regard, we propose a conceptualization of the term from a perspective that includes three solutions to social injustice: redistribution, recognition, and representation, the latter being closely linked to social participation. The combination of this perspective with the contributions of Iris Marion Young, both of which highlight the institutionalized obstacles, that is, the structural conditions that generate injustices, comprise the social justice perspective defended in this dissertation. From this position, the specific educational contexts that we have analyzed are the educational programs that correspond with basic Vocational Education and Training in Spain (FPB: Basic Vocational Education and PFCB: Training Programs of Basic Qualification). We propose this analysis from the perspective of conservative modernization as a trend in the development of the educational policies following the work of Michael W. Apple and Stephen J. Ball. This perspective has allowed us to describe and analyze the position of these programs in the educational system, establishing them as a track of segregation of those students at risk of school failure or early school leaving. With the theoretical perspective and the research context, the process that we consider for the assessment of social justice in education is the transition after the programs, which we relate to the possibilities of social participation. The methodological strategy is based on the model of reproduction and cultural transformation of Basil Bernstein, which gives structure to the specific model of analysis elaborated for this dissertation in which the theoretical elements are sorted in order to describe the process of social production of itineraries in the specific educational contexts of FPB and PFCB. On the basis of Bernstein’s theory, the concept of selection is presented as a conceptual tool for the description of the production of itineraries in specific educational contexts. This concept is the one that underlies the script of the interviews conducted. To obtain the data, interviews of 65 professionals (teachers, counselors and managers) who worked in these programs in the first year of implementation (2014-15) have been conducted. From their own explanations of the selection in different moments of the educational process, we have obtained information on the elements prioritized in the pedagogical practices that allows us to describe the social production of itineraries of insertion. Furthermore, 240 students have answered questionnaires whose main purpose is to know their expectations for the program. The results are presented contextualized in the possibilities of transition of young people in a labor market that is segmented and defined by the extension of precariousness, which is accentuated in a socioeconomic situation of crisis. The description and analysis of the data has enabled us to differentiate functional educational practices and practices orientated toward critique, although both produce itineraries of insertion marked by the status of insertion policies that defines basic Vocational Education and Training in the Spanish educational system. Furthermore, the influence attributed by the professionals to the context of primary socialization as well as to the socioeconomic situation when describing their expectations for the future itineraries of students underscores the aid-providing rather than educational purpose acquired by these programs. Given the insufficiency of the programs in both training and in the certificate provided, this primary context is presented as a protection factor, particularly necessary in periods of economic recession. Together, the results obtained lead us to conclude that, despite certain differences in the educational practices, basic Vocational Education and Training is an insertion policy socially unjust because of the limited social participation it enables and the itineraries of insertion it produces.
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