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Queen's University
 

Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies


Spain

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TOTAL SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 1 3.5


1. Constitutional, legislative or parliamentary affirmation of multiculturalism at the central and / or regional and municipal levels and the existence of a government ministry, secretariat or advisory board to implement this policy in consultation with ethnic communities

   Recognition of cultural diversity and “interculturalism” but a reluctance to employ a framework of “multiculturalism.” Various instruments and institutional entities address issues related to integration, inclusion and interculturalism.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • Traditionally, Spain has been considered a country of territorial cultural diversity, rather than a country with cultural minority diversity (Villarroya 2009). Although there has not been a constitutional affirmation of multiculturalism at the national level, the government has, since at least 2003, begun to recognize the reality of cultural diversity and has focused attention on the social integration and inclusion of immigrants and minorities. This has largely been under the auspices of its National Action Plans on Social Inclusion, which have been released since 2001 (ibid.).
  • The government’s 2008–2010 National Action Plan on Social Inclusion, which was drafted in consultation with a number of NGOs, commits to strengthening the social integration of immigrants. In addition, the Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants, which was formally constituted in 2006, is attached to the Ministry of Labour and provides information, counsel and advice to governments on matters related to integration (Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport 2008).
  • Meanwhile, the 2007–2010 Strategic Plan for Citizenship and Integration recognizes Spain as a country of immigration (rather than emigration) as well as a “plural society” and notes that “immigrants of various origins, cultures and characteristics are here to stay, and make up our common identity as Spanish society. And this is of crucial social significance, because the presence of these immigrants will bring about, and is already bringing about, a deep transformation of our society, both demographically and economically, and culturally and politically” (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007). In the plan, integration is recognized as a process of “mutual adaptation” and a “two-way street” which requires effort on both the part of immigrants and the host society (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007, 20).
  • The Catalan government has also taken measures to recognize cultural diversity. In 2000, it created a Secretariat for Immigration, which is attached the Department of Social Action and Citizenship and responsible for policies related to immigration. Since 2005, it has also drafted the region’s plan on citizenship and immigration. The 2009–2012 plan commits to promoting the integration of immigrants to “a common public culture based on pluralism” (Ministry of Social Action and Citizenship 2010b). With respect to the involvement of civil society, in 2008, a Citizenship and Immigration Table was created to provide advice to the government on matters related to immigration and citizenship; it is composed partly of NGOs, including those representing immigrants and minorities (ibid.).
  • At the municipal level, the city of Barcelona has, since the late 1990s, worked to promote intercultural initiatives. This has included the 1997 Municipal Plan for Interculturalism, an Immigration Agenda and, in 2008, the Barcelona Plan for Interculturalism. The plan notes that “the diversity of origins, languages, customs, values, and beliefs that has made for a considerable increase in sociocultural diversity in Barcelona over the past years has brought on complex changes in coexistence and social cohesion, as well as new opportunities to be addressed” (Ajuntament de Barcelona 2010).
  • Barcelona also has a Municipal Immigration Council, an advisory body that comprises government officials, as well as representatives of several NGOs, including those that represent ethnic minorities. In 2008, the Municipal Immigration Council approved a three-year immigration plan that states “more than ever, our goal is to build a single city: a plural city, not a plurality of cities. Barcelona’s model of integration needs to find its cornerstone in what unites us rather than what divides us. In this sense, we are working towards a Barcelona in which our citizens share common rights and responsibilities, in which respect for diversity becomes a key element and a driving force behind social, economic and cultural opportu¬nities. And this entails embracing interculturalism as a central characteristic of the city’s immigration policy” (Ajuntament de Barcelona 2008, 3). The plan is based on the principles of equality, cultural diversity and living together. The plan further states that “intercultural relations take place in a specific milieu and context. For this reason, the cultural heritage of the host society and its language are the essential foundations upon which interculturalism should be approached. A heritage that will become further enriched over time as a result of the contributions of new arrivals, just like what has happened historically” (Ajuntament de Barcelona 2008, 34).


2. The adoption of multiculturalism in school curriculum

   Some recent evidence of a shift toward intercultural pedagogy, although not without controversy.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • In the 2007 Strategic Plan on Citizenship and Integration, the government notes that it is important that immigrants learn about the EU’s basic values, the norms and habits of Spanish life, and the country’s official languages, but also states that one objective of the plan is to promote “the understanding by Spanish society as a whole of migration, to improve the sense of community between cultures while valuing diversity and fostering the values of tolerance and respect, and to support the conservation and knowledge of immigrants’ cultures of origin” (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007, 22; emphasis added). This opens the door to the inclusion of multicultural principles in school curriculum.
  • Indeed, the plan commits the government to integrating intercultural civic education, to fostering intercultural knowledge and skills and to the “conservation of languages and cultures of origin” (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007, 25). It also says it will include an “immigration and interculturality perspective” in childhood and youth programs (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007, 32).
  • In this vein, the Ministry of Education has developed a Resource Centre for Attention to Cultural Diversity in Education (CREADE), which is intended to provide information and training on cultural diversity in schools (Villarroya 2009).
  • Even so, in the 2007–2008 school year, when the Ministry of Education introduced into the curriculum a program called “Education for citizenship and human rights,” which was aimed at promoting tolerance, there was strong opposition from religious schools and the Catholic church. They resented the introduction of a compulsory subject that was perceived as imposing views about the moral upbringing of students; it was argued that this conflicted with the right to freedom of education (Villarroya 2009).


3. The inclusion of ethnic representation / sensitivity in the mandate of public media or media licensing

   Varies, but evidence in Catalonia, in particular.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • The representation of diversity in the media varies depending on the region, with less attention given to immigrants and ethnic minorities in the bilingual regions, in particular. Nonetheless, Villarroya (2009, 27) notes that “growing immigration has led the public media to seek new formulas through which to make this new social reality more visible in broadcasting and to make television available and accessible to new citizens as a means of facilitating their integration.” Catalonia’s public broadcaster was the first in Spain to create a Diversity Committee, and it has launched initiatives to increase multilingual subtitling, to make broadcasting language more accessible, and to include programming and coverage that better reflects, and is of interest to, immigrants and minorities (Villarroya 2009).
  • The state public broadcaster, RTVE, is obliged to respect Spain’s “‘political, religious, social, cultural and linguistic diversity’; it strives to produce programming that is reflective of quality, plurality and cultural diversity” (quoted in Villarroya 2009, 28).


4. Exemptions from dress codes (either by statute or court cases)

   No.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • There is little evidence of substantive debate over turbans, although the headscarf has ignited some controversy. There are no national guidelines with respect to the wearing of the hijab with the regions able to set their own policies, particularly in schools and courthouses. Some girls have been expelled from school for wearing the hijab, while a female lawyer was removed from a courtroom (Govan 2010).

5. Allows dual citizenship

   Generally, no. Permitted only in specific instances.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • In general, Spain does not allow dual citizenship although the constitution and Spanish civil code do allow the state to negotiate treaties with Latin American countries that may allow for the maintenance of more than one citizenship (United States Office of Personnel Management 2001). At present, such agreements are in place with Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru, as well as Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal. In addition, while Spain does require renouncement of an existing citizenship or upon the acquisition of another, it does not insist on the provision of proof; as such, Faist and Gerdes (2008) point out that there are many de facto dual citizens in Spain. Nonetheless, in Howard’s (2005) index of citizenship policies, he categorizes Spain as a country that does not permit dual citizenship.


6. The funding of ethnic group organizations or activities

   Recent commitments to do so; evidence of support at the regional level.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • The 2007 Strategic Plan for Citizenship and Integration commits to provide support to immigrants’ associations, to bolster their operating capacities, and to help establish networks of immigrant associations and organizations that support immigrant integration (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007).
  • In the 2008 National Action Plan for Social Inclusion, the government commits to strengthening the integration of immigrants and notes that this will be furthered by the provision of subsidies to organizations that focus on immigrant integration and humanitarian assistance, as well as to the Red Cross, the Association for Catholic Migration Commission, and the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid. It also commits to funding local projects that aid in the integration of immigrants as well as to the financial aid and promotion of programs that link immigrants to their communities of origin (Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport 2008).
  • At a regional level, the Catalan government provides grants to local authorities and organizations that facilitate the integration of immigrants and that undertake programs designed to promote interculturalism and diversity (Ministry of Social Action and Citizenship 2010a).


7. The funding of bilingual education or mother-tongue instruction

   Yes.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 1 1

Evidence:

  • Mother-tongue instruction and preservation have been longstanding goals of the Spanish government. In the section on education in the 2007 Strategic Plan on Citizenship and Integration, the government commits to the “conservation of languages and cultures of origin” (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 2007, 25). Further, Spain’s National Action Plan for Social Inclusion, which was passed in 2008, commits the government to strengthening foreign language acquisition beginning at the primary school level. It also aims to promote agreements with the autonomous regions to develop bilingual and trilingual teaching programs; the aim is full linguistic competence (Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport 2008).
  • Since the 1990s, the government has supported the Arabic Language and Moroccan Culture Learning Programme as well as the Portuguese Language and Cultural Programme, which provide mother-tongue instruction and cultural activities to students (Villarroya 2009). Typically, these programs are offered in regions in which there are higher numbers of immigrants speaking Arabic or Portuguese, with the goal of increasing social integration. In addition, in secondary schools, Portuguese is an optional subject (ibid.).
  • In 2004, the Ministry of Culture and 10 NGOs launched a campaign to promote reading in the mother tongue to immigrants living in Spain; the goal was to promote the importance of literacy (Villarroya 2009).
  • Further, the Catalan government has produced a series of materials aimed at assisting immigrants to learn Catalan; many of the materials are produced in the mother tongues most commonly spoken by newcomers (Ministry of Social Action and Citizenship 2009).


8. Affirmative action for disadvantaged immigrant groups

   Although there is no evidence of an affirmative action policy per se, some employment measures have been adopted that target immigrant groups, and the constitution could be interpreted as requiring positive action measures.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • The Strategic Plan on Citizenship and Integration commits to fighting discrimination, ensuring equal opportunities for immigrants, promoting diversity management, and preventing job harassment as a result of racial or ethnic origin. A Council for the Promotion of Equal Treatment and Non-discrimination on the Grounds of Racial or Ethnic Origin was created in 2003; it provides assistance to those who have experienced discrimination, as well as providing information and guidance and analyzing legislation (Equinet Europe 2010). In addition, the immigration law of 2000 made provisions for a Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia (Observatorio Español contra el Racismo y la Xenofobia), which was opened in 2006 and provides research and data assistance related to racism and discrimination (Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport 2008).
  • In developing priorities for targeted action, the National Vocational Training and Employment Plan, which was established under Royal Decree 631/1993 of 3 May, gives preference to unemployed persons with difficulties entering or re-entering the labour market; these include women re-entering the workforce, disabled persons and migrant workers (Spanish Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women 1996). Although the plan did not establish a preferential hiring scheme, it did target migrant workers to receive training and assistance to aid in labour market (re)entry. The plan is now implemented by the autonomous regions.
  • In addition, a recent report on measures to combat discrimination notes that “the Court has interpreted that actions of the public authorities to remedy the employment disadvantage of certain socially marginalized groups is actually required by a commitment to equality properly understood” (Rodriguez 2008, 51). This stems from Article 14 of the constitution, which sees positive action measures not as contravening equality, but as a legitimate means of promoting it (Rodriguez 2008).
  • Article 35 of Law 62/2003 deals with employment and provides that “with a view to ensuring full equality on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, the principle of equality shall not prevent maintaining or adopting specific measures in favour of certain groups in order to prevent or compensate for disadvantages that they may encounter” (quoted in Rodriguez 2008, 51). Article 30 of the same law states that “in order to guarantee full equality irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, the principle of equal treatment shall not prevent the maintenance or adoption of special measures benefiting certain groups, designed to prevent or to offset any disadvantages that they suffer as a result of their racial or ethnic origin” (quoted in Rodriguez 2008, 52). In other words, positive action measures directed at ethnic minorities, which may include quotas or targets, could be understood to be required by Spain’s equality laws

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