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Abstract

The stigmatisation of some marginalised groups is a common, cross-cutting form of social exclusion. However, just as there are some common forms of exclusion among discriminated groups, certain strategies of resilience in the face of social exclusion are also shared by different groups within their various social contexts. This paper is based on a com- parative analysis of three case studies of individuals who have experienced processes of resilience when faced with stigmatisation and social exclusion. One is a person who emigrat- ed from an impoverished country to Spain; another, a person with an intellectual disability; and the third is a person of gypsy origin living in a marginalised neighbourhood. In the first phase, in-depth interviews and focus groups were used to collect data for each of the three case studies. The data from each of them were then analysed by using their own emerging system of categories. In the second phase, common categories within all three case studies were identified. This was effected by using a similarity-based comparative analysis of cases. We were therefore able to see that there were some categories common to the three case studies, namely stigmatism and dehumanisation; suffering and pain as driving forces behind the struggle; resilience and empowerment, and socio-educational help. These shape what we term resilient dynamics or processes generated by people and their environments, and provide interesting synergies and resistance to social exclusion.
eISSN: 1989-9742 © SIPS. DOI: 10. SE7179/PSRI_2017.29.09
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[RESILIENCE AS A WAY OF RESISTING SOCIAL EXCLUSION: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDIES]
SIPS - PEDAGOGÍA SOCIAL. REVISTA INTERUNIVERSITARIA [(2017) 29, 123-134] TERCERA ÉPOCA
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CONTACT WITH THE AUTHORS: Cristóbal Ruiz Román: Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de Málaga. Campus
de Teatinos s/n. CP. 29071 Málaga. Correo Electrónico / E-mail: xtobal@uma.es.
FINANCIACIÓN: El trabajo comparado que aquí presentamos se ha llevado a cabo como parte de un Proyecto de Investigación
de Excelencia I + D (SEJ12-1366) financiado por la Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo de la Junta de Andalucía.
123 2017 29 09
RESILIENCE AS A WAY OF RESISTING SOCIAL EXCLUSION:
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDIES
LA RESILIENCIA COMO FORMA DE RESISTIR A LA EXCLUSIÓN SOCIAL:
UN ANÁLISIS COMPARATIVO DE CASOS
A RESILIÊNCIA COMO FORMA DE RESISTIR À EXCLUSÃO SOCIAL:
UMA ANÁLISE COMPARATIVA DE CASOS
Cristóbal RUIZ-ROMÁN*, Ignacio CALDERÓN-ALMENDROS*
& Jesús JUÁREZ PÉREZ-CEA**
*Universidad de Málaga, **Cáritas Diocesana de Málaga
Received date: 18.iii.2015
Reviewed date: 10.iv.2015
Accepted date: 23.vii.2015
KEY WORDS:
Resilience
Social Discrimination
Empowerment
Education
Community
ABSTRACT: The stigmatisation of some marginalised groups is a common, cross-cutting
form of social exclusion. However, just as there are some common forms of exclusion among
discriminated groups, certain strategies of resilience in the face of social exclusion are also
shared by different groups within their various social contexts. This paper is based on a com-
parative analysis of three case studies of individuals who have experienced processes of
resilience when faced with stigmatisation and social exclusion. One is a person who emigrat-
ed from an impoverished country to Spain; another, a person with an intellectual disability;
and the third is a person of gypsy origin living in a marginalised neighbourhood. In the first
phase, in-depth interviews and focus groups were used to collect data for each of the three
case studies. The data from each of them were then analysed by using their own emerging
system of categories. In the second phase, common categories within all three case studies
were identified. This was effected by using a similarity-based comparative analysis of cases.
We were therefore able to see that there were some categories common to the three case
studies, namely stigmatism and dehumanisation; suffering and pain as driving forces behind
the struggle; resilience and empowerment, and socio-educational help. These shape what
we term resilient dynamics or processes generated by people and their environments, and
provide interesting synergies and resistance to social exclusion.
eISSN: 1989-9742 © SIPS. DOI: 10. SE7179/PSRI_2017.29.09
http://recyt.fecyt.es/index.php/PSRI/ [124]
[Cristóbal RUIZ-ROMÁN, Ignacio CALDERÓN-ALMENDROS & Jesús JUÁREZ PÉREZ-CEA]
SIPS - PEDAGOGÍA SOCIAL. REVISTA INTERUNIVERSITARIA [(2017) 29, 123-134] TERCERA ÉPOCA
Copyright © 2015 SIPS. Licencia Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial (by-nc) Spain 3.0
PALABRAS CLAVES:
Resiliencia
Discriminación Social
Empoderamiento
Educación
Comunidad
RESUMEN: La estigmatización que acompaña a ciertos colectivos marginados es un modo
común y transversal de exclusión social. Pero al igual que existen formas de exclusión co-
munes entre los grupos discriminados, ante la exclusión social también emergen estrategias
resilientes compartidas por los distintos colectivos y sus entornos sociales. Este trabajo se
basa en un análisis comparativo por similitud de tres estudios de caso de tres personas que
han vivido procesos resilientes ante la estigmatización y la marginación social por una de
estas tres condiciones: ser una persona que emigra desde un país empobrecido a España,
ser una persona con discapacidad intelectual o ser una persona de etnia gitana y vivir en una
barriada marginal. Para la recogida de información de los tres estudios de caso se realizaron
entrevistas en profundidad y grupos focales. La información de cada uno de los tres estudios
de caso fue analizada con su propio sistema de categorías emergente. En una segunda fase, y
utilizando la técnica del análisis comparativo de casos por similitud, se identificaron las cate-
gorías comunes a los tres estudios de caso que constituyen la base sobre la que se exponen
los principales resultados en este artículo. Así, veremos que la estigmatización y deshumani-
zación, el sufrimiento y el dolor como motor de la luchay la resiliencia, el empoderamiento y
el acompañamiento socioeducativo son categorías comunes a los tres estudios de caso y van
configurando lo que denominamos dinámicas o procesos resilientes. Estas dinámicas resilien-
tes que generan las personas y sus entornos constituyen interesantes sinergias y resistencias
socioeducativas ante la exclusión social.
PALAVRAS-CHAVE:
Resiliencia
Discriminação social
Empoderamento
Educação
Comunidade
RESUMO: A estigmatização que acompanha certos grupos marginalizados é um modo co-
mum e transversal de exclusão social. Entretanto, da mesma maneira que existem formas de
exclusão comuns entre os grupos discriminados, diante da exclusão social também emergem
estratégias resilientes compartilhadas pelos distintos grupos e seus entornos sociais. Este
trabalho baseia-se em uma análise comparativa por semelhança de três estudos de caso de
três pessoas que vivenciaram processos resilientes diante da estigmatização e da margina-
lização social por uma dentre estas três condições: ser uma pessoa que emigra de um país
pobre para a Espanha, ser uma pessoa com deficiência/incapacidade intelectual ou ser uma
pessoa de etnia cigana e viver em uma periferia marginal. Para a coleta de informações dos
três casos de estudo realizaram-se entrevistas em nível profundo e com grupos específicos.
A informação de cada um dos três estudos de caso foi analisada com seu próprio sistema de
categorias emergentes. Em uma segunda fase, e utilizando a técnica da análise comparativa
de casos por semelhança, identificaram-se as categorias comuns aos três estudos que consti-
tuem a base sobre a qual se expõe os principais resultados deste artigo. Assim, veremos que
a estigmatização e a desumanização, o sofrimento e a dor como motor de luta, a resiliência e o
empoderamento e o apoio socioeducativo, são categorias comuns aos três estudos de caso, e
configuram o que denominamos dinâmicas ou processos resilientes. Estas dinâmicas resilien-
tes geradas pelas pessoas e seus entornos constituem interessantes sinergias e resistências
socioeducativas diante da exclusão social.
1. Introduction
There are a number of forms of oppression that
are common to socially excluded groups. Stigmati-
sation is one of these oppressive practices. While
it operates under different labels, they all have
the same purpose: to exercise a form of power
and social control over the other.
Stigmatisation may be dealt with by accepting
and reproducing the stigma that causes inequali-
ty, but there are other ways to confront it. In this
paper, following a discussion of the state of the
art regarding research on resilience, we intend to
show what there is in it that can help empower
individuals and their communities. Through a com-
parative case study, this research aims to provide
evidence to enable the understanding of how re-
silience can be a way of resisting and altering the
oppression generated by stigma.
More specifically, based on a comparative
analysis of three individual cases, this paper aims
to present the common patterns of segregation
linked to social stigmas that affect people who
are placed in certain groups. Subsequently, it will
highlight the ways in which individuals and groups
build counter-hegemonic interpretations that em-
power them and challenge the stigmatising op-
pression. These are certain strategies that trigger
resilient educational processes, where individuals
and communities go hand in hand.
This paper is based on evidence and interpre-
tations from the comparative analysis of three
case studies: The case of Rafael, a 30-year-old per-
son from Málaga with Down’s syndrome; the case
of Nordin, a 16-year-old boy born in Morocco who
has lived in Málaga for over 9 years; and the case
of Francisco, a 19-year-old gypsy boy who lives in
a deprived neighbourhood in Malaga (Los Asper-
ones). A similarity-based comparative analysis of
cases was used to identify resilient processes in
the face of stigmatisation and social exclusion ex-
isting in these three oppressive realities.
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2. Studies on resilience
The concept of resilience is derived from the
Latin term ‘resiliere.’ This notion is borrowed
from the field of physics to describe materials
with a high degree of endurance and reversal to
a strong impact, and began to be used later in
the English-speaking world by US, European and
Australian scientists in the field of psychiatry and
paediatrics. These researchers (Dugan & Coles,
1989; Garmezy, 1991) began to study various cases
of socially at-risk children who managed to resist,
adapt and grow despite living in conditions of pov-
erty, neglect and violence.
While in the English-speaking world the term
‘resilience’ has been studied for over half a centu-
ry and used in the last two decades by profession-
als working in the field of social exclusion (Jollien,
2000; Ungar, 2004; Daniel, 2006 & 2010; Hart &
Heaver, 2013), in Spain the concept is only now be-
ginning to be introduced in the fields of research
and socio-educational intervention.
It is interesting to note the developments that
have taken place in studies on resilience. The
study of human resilience was initially conducted
within the field of psychology. The initial research,
such as that by Werner and Smith (1982), point-
ed to individual factors as being the only ones
responsible for developing resilient processes.
Subsequently, in recent decades, research on re-
silience has expanded to the educational field and
to the area of social work. Studies such as Melil-
lo (2002), Cyrulnik (2002 and 2009), Manciaux
(2010), Ungar (2004), Suárez-Ojeda (2008), Hart et
al. (2011), Forés & Grané (2012), Ungar, Ghazinour
& Richter (2013), Punch (2013), Runswick-Cole &
Goodley (2013), Allan & Ungar (2014), Porcelli et
al. (2014), Theron, Liebenberg & Malinidi (2014),
Ungar, Liebenberg & Ikeda (2014) and Ungar, Rus-
sell & Connolly (2014) have begun to point to the
inescapable relationship between environmental
or cultural factors and the individuals in terms of
developing resilient processes.
This idea of process emphasises the fact that
resilience is based on a dynamic relationship
between subject and environment in facing ele-
ments that hinder the individual’s development.
This understanding of the generation of resilience
is based on the theories by Bruner (1984), Bron-
fenbrenner (1987), Vygotsky (2012), among others,
who demonstrated the influence of the environ-
ment on the development of the subject. As Me-
lillo (2004) argues,
If resilience is a process in which what we are at a
given moment is interwoven with affective resources
present in the social ecological environment, the lack
of these resources can make the subject succumb, but
if even the slightest support is given, the construction
of the resilient process can be take place. (p. 70)
In this regard, we can say that resilience is a
process that is shaped between the subject, the
possibilities offered by the environment and var-
ious contexts, and the educational relationships
generated between them (Ungar, 2015). Resilience
from a systemic or procedural conception tran-
scends the limits of an individualistic conception
and opens up a new focus on culture, the educa-
tion community and a supporting educator (Cos-
ta, Fores & Burguet, 2014) as elements to be con-
sidered in resilient processes.
3. Methodology
As mentioned above, this paper is based on a com-
parative analysis of three case studies. Compara-
tive case studies are usually performed in order to
study similarities and differences between various
cases (Eysenck, 1976; Yin, 2014). In the strategy of
similarity-based comparison, cases are studied
through a similar variable or phenomenon that is
common to all of them (convergence). A differ-
ence-based comparison is used to find explana-
tions for the differences that occur in each case (di-
vergences) (Coller, 2000). In our study the strategy
of similarity-based comparison analysis was used
with a view to understanding the common phenom-
ena and convergences between the three cases.
Such analogies are evidenced by similar categories
that emerged from the individual analyses of each
of the three case studies, which ultimately led to
the common categories detailed below.
In line with Stake (1998), when selecting cas-
es for this study it seemed appropriate to take
into account the significance that they could have
for the phenomenon under study, and to priori-
tise the learning opportunities offered by each of
them. This study is based on a comparative anal-
ysis of the cases of three people who face adver-
sity (being labelled and socially excluded) with
the benefit of educational support. The selection
criteria for the three case studies were as follows:
We selected the cases of three people who
have suffered social stigma and discrimination
under the following conditions: in the first
case (Nordin), due to his status as an immi-
grant in Spain; in the second case (Rafael), due
to his status as a person with a disability; and
the third (Francisco), due to his belonging to a
marginal neighbourhood and being a gypsy.
The second requirement was that they should
be cases in which resilient processes could
be identified in the face of stigmatisation and
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social marginalisation. This would imply that the
individuals chosen should have transcended
the expectations of their environment through
educational processes that had helped them
think of themselves beyond the social man-
dates. In this sense, the three cases selected
should not only stand out for their unusual
academic achievements (for example) or sim-
ply for being pioneers, but mainly for the con-
structions that drive them: self-recognition, em-
powerment and building what we elsewhere
called identities of interpretation (Ruiz-Román,
Calderón-Almendros & Torres-Moya, 2011).
And finally, a no less important requirement in
the selection of cases was that all the people in-
volved should wish to participate voluntarily in
the study and be committed to cooperate with
the case study researchers.
Appropriate negotiations were carried out to
ensure the democratic nature of the processes at
all times, both in access to the informants and in
the use and ownership of the data, as well as in the
preparation, return and validation of the reports.
Narratives that were accessible to the population
under study were developed. All the discussions
were recorded and included in the corpus of data
in each case. This was all done on a systematic and
ethical basis, in keeping with the highest stand-
ards in qualitative research to ensure its veracity:
credibility, transferability, dependability and con-
firmability (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).
During the fieldwork the procedures used
for data collection in the three case studies
were based on a broad range of ethnographic
strategies: interviews (in-depth, semi-structured
and group), focus groups, panel discussions, col-
lection of documents and artefacts, participant
observation and researcher diaries. This broad
variety of methods ensured the triangulation
of methodological strategies. Two of these data
collection strategies were predominant to obtain
information for each of the cases: in-depth inter-
views (79 in total) and focus groups (9 in total)
(Taylor & Bogdan, 1980; Krueger, 1994; Greebaum,
1998; Flick, 2004). In addition, each case study
used a diversity of informants, so that another
triangulation of data could be carried out using
the information thus collected. Different types of
informants were interviewed depending on the
characteristics of each case, notably including
the individuals on whom the case studies were
being conducted, and their relatives, friends,
teachers and educators, neighbours, academ-
ics, politicians, students, counsellors and other
key informants. Pseudonyms have been used
throughout to protect the identity of informants.
According to Eisner (1998), the strategy of tri-
angulation or structural corroboration is intended
to provide the confluence of multiple sources of
evidence or the recurrence of instances that sup-
port a conclusion. In the study presented here
structural corroboration was three-fold: the tri-
angulation of data sources, researchers’ triangula-
tion and the methodological triangulation. These
measures sought to address the complex subjec-
tive data that feeds qualitative research (Contre-
ras & Pérez de Lara, 2010; Stake, 1998), while giv-
ing the results the credibility and validity required
in social science scientific research.
All the information generated was recorded
on audio or video and later transcribed verbatim
for the qualitative analysis of the data, together
with the documents collected. Each of the three
case studies was examined on the basis of the
system of categories that emerged from its own
specific analysis. The internal logic of the data was
sought in each case study, conferred by the in-
formants through patterns such as repetition, the
assessment of certain issues, milestones or posi-
tions, as well as the interpretative relevance that
a key element could have in understanding the dy-
namics of personal and social construction within
a particular context. These are hermeneutical key
aspects related to a certain way of living. In order
to move from data to categories, we followed the
steps suggested by Simons (2011: 60): identifying
and confirming categories; establishing connec-
tions between them; and generating wide-ranging
ideas to tell a story or part of a story in the case.
QSR International NVivo was the software
used to analyse the qualitative data collected
and to identify emerging categories. However, in
each of the category systems of the three cases,
some common categories emerged. We relied on
them to make the similarity-based comparison of
the case studies. The categories that appeared si-
multaneously in the three cases were: stigma and
dehumanisation; pain and suffering as the origin
of the struggle; resilience and empowerment; so-
cio-educational help and resilient support. This
research has been built on the patterns or catego-
ries that occurred in all three cases, a comparison
and triangulation with multiple sources and tech-
niques, and the episodes recounted with great
hermeneutical value.
4. Results
4.1. Stigmatisation and dehumanisation
All human beings experience environmental con-
ditions which, depending on their characteristics,
can be interpreted as a straitjacket that does not
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allow them to be who they are. In the socialisation
process, people uncritically embrace the social
and cultural elements of the environment, which
become integrated into their personality. Some-
times this integration into the established social
structure can be experienced as a process of op-
pression (Calderón-Almendros, 2011; Calderón-Al-
mendros & Ruiz-Román, 2015).
In other words, the conditions of experience
differ greatly between different social groups, and
from one person to another. And the experience
of people with disabilities, of gypsies or of those
who have emigrated to Spain, as in the cases under
discussion here, do not sit particularly well with
this socialisation process. The social system has
assigned a social role to people with Down’s syn-
drome, gypsies living in disadvantaged areas and
immigrants that is close to social marginalisation.
The socialisation process maintains relation-
ships of inequality based on the differentiation be-
tween the hegemonic group and minority groups.
It is an exercise in power and control over others,
where the concept of normality is generated. In
line with this concept, those who build their iden-
tity on the margins of the hegemonic are judged as
being outside the norm or the group (Ruiz-Román,
Calderón-Almendros & Torres-Moya, 2011).
This is clear in the cases studied here. Society
handles a range of social images about disability,
immigrants and gypsies that strengthens stereo-
types and their widespread use. These hegemonic
cultural productions made into stereotypes are a
form of social control, a simplistic generalisation
that is assigned to a variety of individuals without
knowing them (Abdenour & Ruiz-Roman, 2005).
Stereotypes are based on uncritical preconcep-
tions; they homogenise diversity, bring to the fore
the inequalities that affect minorities, and flout
the individuality of each person by seeing in them
that which had been previously assigned. This is
an unfair mark which, consciously or unconscious-
ly, is attributed to that person. It is like a prison
where the subject is typecast and denied the op-
tion of being what they are or want to be. Stigma
(be it Down’s, immigrant or gypsy status) is not the
person, so the stereotype constructed conditions
the individual, that is, it reduces and incarcerates
the complex being in every person.
Alicia: It’s a shame he always has to live...
Diego: With that exposure, right?
Alice: ... dragging, as he says, dragging the Down’s
alongside him. Because in fact he is not the Down’s.
He is him, and the Down’s is something that always
accompanies him.
Diego: Yes, he can’t get away from it.
Alicia: That you are myopic. You are not myopic, you
are Nacho and you are also myopic. But being my-
opic does not define you (Alicia and Diego, Rafael’s
sister and brother-in-law).
Neighbour 1: And if you go to a job interview, and they
look at your ID and see that you are from the neigh-
bourhood of Asperones, you’ve got zero chance of
getting work. They say, ‘we’ll call you...’.
Neighbour 2: Or when talking to a girl, if she asks me
where I’m from and I tell her I’m from Asperones, she
blocks me straight away (from Whatsapp). And she
doesn’t want to know one thing about me’ (Focus
group, Francisco’s neighbours).
Stereotypes objectify and ‘block’ the person.
Objectification is a function of social control by
the use of prejudice, a static and simplistic dis-
criminating type of knowledge (‘they don’t want
to know one thing about me’), leaving the person
who is beyond the stereotype on one side. The
stigma objectifies and robs the individual of their
humanity, sending them into ‘another world’.
There is something that makes me very angry, and
that is when they call me ‘moro1. When they call me
‘moro’, it’s as if I’m from another world (Interview with
Nordin)
Researcher: Why doesn’t the underground stop
here?
Neighbour 1: Because we are not people.
Neighbour 2: Well, I don’t know. It is kept here. If they
wanted to they could bring it here.
Neighbour 3: It’s kept just where my street is, just as
you go up, that’s where it is kept.
Neighbour 2: What is not normal is that the tube
goes through here to be put away and it doesn’t go
through for us to use it’ (Focus group of Francisco’s
neighbours).
As can be seen from the evidence, stigmatisa-
tion highlights social injustice, because it robs indi-
viduals of part of their humanity (‘we are not peo-
ple’). Rafael used another metaphor to talk about
the stigma (in his case Down’s syndrome): the ‘cof-
fin of the dead.’ In Rafael’s words, the Down’s (the
stigma) is a coffin that imprisons him as an individ-
ual, prevents him from being what he wants to be
and from showing himself as such.
... someone hurts me. Okay, I’m hurt, I have blood
all over my body, but the Lord pushed me. He said:
‘You can. I give you the gift of music, fighting with the
school.’ Okay, so the coffin that I was in— well, it was
in my mind, it wasn’t real— I open the coffin and here
I am. (Interview with Rafael)
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The exclusion is evident: ‘not a person’, ‘being
in the coffin’ in the ‘nickname’, ‘block you’, and be-
ing thrown into ‘another world’. These are forms
of relationship that leave the individual violated
and dehumanised, not only due to the attacks
on individuality by the use of stigma, but also in
terms of what remains as segregating attitudes
and behaviours.
I had a problem with a girl I was introduced to, who I
liked. We nearly started dating. And both her friends
and her family said things to her about being so close
to someone from Morocco. Her friends, her group,
they didn’t say anything to me to my face so as not
to seem racist, but behind my back they told her she
should think twice before going out with a ‘moro.’ Her
family did not want her to be with me because I was a
‘moro.’ When I phoned her on her home number and
asked her mother if I could speak to her without say-
ing who I was, she was always in, but when I said my
name, and said it was Nordin, she was never in. ‘Don’t
you think that’s weird?’ (Interview with Nordin).
Jose: And maybe you get to know a girl and say
you’re from the Asperones and she turns her back
on you. Sometimes I say that I am from Consul or
Teatinos’ (Interview with Jose, a friend of Francisco’s).
Domingo: ... I can say I have treated Rafa badly. Badly
how? By abusing him. By abusing him in the sense
that as I was, in a way, the ‘clever’ one, and he was the
‘thick’ one, I tried to take everything in the direction
I wanted. Just to give you an example… right now I
can’t think of one… oh yes, maybe using him to pro-
tect myself, just with silly things, like, instead of eating
a particular thing, [saying]: ‘ Tell your parents we’re
going to have chocolate’ or ‘we’re going down to the
shop to buy ... ‘
Researcher: Using him.
Domingo: Exactly, yes, using him. Used him, of
course, that’s it’ (Interview with Domingo, a friend of
Raphael’s).
4.2 Suffering and pain: the origin of a struggle
Stigmas, in addition to being stereotypical cultural
constructions, leave marks on the body of the stig-
matised individual. The stigma is a dagger which,
as the individuals in the case studies themselves
say, stabs and wounds them to the point of making
them ‘bleed’ and ‘cry’. Being labelled by the mark
of ‘the moro’, ‘the one with ‘Down’s’ or ‘the gypsy’
is painful. When the mark that has been imposed
on you makes you feel inferior, insecure or afraid
to relate to others, the stigma of the stereotype
begins to make you ‘feel bad, suffer, cry, bleed, …’
and shows the ways some people have of exercis-
ing power over others.
Not long ago I had a really bad time at school. I went
with a few mates to put our rucksacks in the lock-
er. The first three kids put their rucksacks away, and
one of them, my friend, told me to put mine in too, as
there was room. So I put it in. But then another kid
came along and the other said to me, laughing: ‘Hey,
you, “morillo”1, get your rucksack out’ so the other guy
could put his in. And I laughed too, but inside I felt
bad, it hurt so much that they treated me as if I were
not a person. I wanted to cry, but I could not cry in
front of them. So I went to the bathroom laughing
and washed my face there so that they wouldn’t no-
tice that I had been crying’ (Interview with Nordin).
...well, they have made him suffer a lot, and in fact
there are things in which it is very noticeable that
he was hurt by what they did to him, and that affect-
ed him, for example, the way he talked… he started
speaking much worse... His stutter got worse, it was
something awful, really bad’ (Interview with Silveria,
Rafael’s sister).
Since my childhood I have fought to achieve what I’m
doing and what I want to do. Until I got to a point
where I said: ‘Not the Down’s. I am the way I am... I’m
like you, like everyone else’ (Interview with Rafael).
‘I managed to overcome it’, say in astonishment some
people who have known resilience when, after being
hurt, they manage to learn to live again. However, this
journey from darkness to light, this escape from the
basement or abandonment of the tomb, are issues
that require learning to live a different life, one that
transcends suffering (Cyrulnik, 2002, p. 23)
Transcending, reinterpreting, but not escap-
ing or merely bearing suffering. It is not enough
merely to try to bear conflict and suffering, it is
necessary to transcend it, so that ‘in some way,
suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it
finds meaning’ (Frankl, 1991, p. 108).
In this situation, pain is the manifestation of
oppression. Pain causes us to withdraw. How-
ever, resistance to pain empowers the individ-
ual against oppression: it frees them. If pain as
oppression generates unconscious conditioned
responses that result in the self-exclusion of the
individual, on the assumption of stigma and blame,
resistance to pain involves a reversal of the pro-
cess (Calderón-Almendros, 2014). Pain becomes a
reflection of social oppression, while the response
to it, ‘not crying in front of them’, not giving in to
oppression and ‘fighting’ is the beginning of re-
sistance. Fighting to escape from the ‘coffin of the
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dead’, ‘from another world’, ‘washing your face
and ‘being people’ again.
4.3 Resilience and empowerment: going
beyond resistance to pain and dehumanisation
I tell my friends that I’m not a ‘moro’, I’m Moroccan.
And I tell them, ‘Hey, hey, I’ve got a name! (Interview
with Nordin).
As we saw earlier, stigma and reification rob
people of their dignity, generating oppression and
pain. For this reason, there is a persistent tenden-
cy to fight for dignity and reclaim the person in
the discourses collected from Rafael, Francisco
and Nordin.
If you know, I imagine that you know, that I have
Down’s syndrome, but apart from that, I am like any-
one of you. And taking away... [its] importance. I want
to emphasise that, first, the Down’s syndrome, I put
it on one side, I leave it aside as if it was a nickname.
But I am another person, just like anyone of you.
That’s what I feel. (Interview with Rafael)
In this way it can be seen that the manner in
which the stereotyped individual has of freeing
themselves from typecasting is learning to seek
mechanisms of resistance so that others do not
typecast them even further. The stereotyped
person wants to leave the ‘prison’, the ‘coffin’, the
‘other world’ so as not to suffer and ‘bleed’ any-
more and be recognised by others as a person.
The Down’s’ is a nickname. And I put it to one side.
And then, I am me.’ (Interview with Rafael).
There are people from other places who say, ‘ooh, As-
perones is dodgy. I’ve heard that [people there] are
aggressive, and they are thieves ‘. And I tell them that
both inside and outside of Asperones there are good
people and bad people.’ (Interview with Francisco).
Rafael, Francisco and Nordin put on one side
the concepts of Down’s syndrome, gypsy and
‘moro’, respectively, and in an act of resistance to
oppression, they claim to be ‘one more’ in society
and not be relegated to a subsystem of it. They
develop strategies to rebel against the mistaken
culture that makes them suffer. To do so, besides
using pain as a driving force for fighting, they need
to unlearn acquired social patterns. Socialisation
should be questioned so that the individual learns
something that is not easy: the dominant culture
is mistaken. In line with Cyrulnik (2002 & 2009)
and Manciaux (2010), we understand that educa-
tional processes have to produce a reflection on
unconscious socialisation and help individuals to
interpret themselves beyond the boundaries of
stigma. These educational processes are a form of
empowerment in the face of the dehumanisation
generated by oppression. The way to interpret
oneself, to construct one’s narrative in life is con-
sidered a fundamental part of this resilient pro-
cess (Frank, 1991; Cyrulnik, 2002; Manciaux, 2010),
since it allows the individual and the community
to change (themselves) when faced with stigma,
offsetting its excluding power.
Following Soler, Planas, Ciraso-Cali & Ri-
bot-Hours (2014), we are committed to an idea
of empowerment linked to a process of growth,
strengthening and development of the confidence
of individuals and communities to promote posi-
tive changes in the context and gain power and the
ability for decision-making and for change (Úcar,
Heras & Soler, 2014). This implies the self-realisa-
tion and independence of individuals and commu-
nities, the recognition of groups / communities
and social transformation.
From these ideas of empowerment, resistance
and the reinterpretation of the stigmatising cul-
ture, the role of families, educators, and the close
environments of the individuals at stake all have
great educational value, since it helps to under-
stand, from a systemic-ecological perspective,
how resilience is interwoven between the individ-
ual and the environment at this point.
Indeed, the immediate surroundings of the
three individuals in the case studies play an im-
portant role in shaping the resilient process, as
they give it meaning and lead to taking a position
against stigmas. We can see how in their immedi-
ate environments anti-hegemonic interpretations
are made against oppression that create a com-
mon front in enabling the transformation of situa-
tions of exclusion.
Asperones is a marginal neighbourhood in Malaga, it
was built with that idea... of not disturbing the rest.
It is social injustice, a political embarrassment.’ (In-
terview with Beatriz, an educator in the Asperones
neighbourhood).
On the walls of the house of one of the residents in
the neighbourhood, which was facing the road, we
painted with some locals graffiti that said, ‘When are
we getting out of here?’ So that everyone who passes
sees it from the street. That’s also street education.’
(Interview with Juanma, an educator in Francisco’s
neighbourhood).
And one day, a friend came who belongs to an asso-
ciation against racism and intolerance and we put up
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posters that said: ‘no to intolerance’ (Interview with
Nordin).
‘I think that Rafa’s case involves much more than
resistance, it’s more complex... However much tech-
nical analysis we do... at the end of the day, it is a
family that treated him normally from the day he was
born.’ (Interview with José Chamizo, Ombudsman of
Andalusia).
As we saw earlier in this section, when Nor-
din raised his voice to denounce that the stigma
of the ‘moro’ led him to move to ‘another world’,
or when Rafael claimed to be ‘just like anyone of
you,’ invoking a new way of non-oppressive inter-
pretation, their educators, families, and friends
did so as well. As will be shown in the results sec-
tion, when a community speaks out against op-
pression, in addition to having a socio-educational
strategy to support and empower the individual,
they are reinterpreting and collectively confront-
ing injustice.
4.4 Socio-educational help and resilient
support: in search of a dream.
Researcher: Are you in the first year of the
Baccalaureate...?
Nordin: Yes.
Researcher: And after that?
Nordin: After that the second year and then on to
university. If I set myself to do something, I succeed. I
want go to university.’ (Interview with Nordin)
They said, ‘You’re not going to amount to anything.’
But I told them: ‘No, one day doors will open up to
me and I will make something of myself. I want to be
someone in life. (Interview with Francisco).
Struggle, effort, and responsibility ... all these
ideas can be reduced to one: to pursue a dream,
to ‘open doors’ which are closed by exclusion and
‘to be someone in life.’ But as we see, the individu-
als in the three cases do not go chasing this dream
on their own; they are accompanied, and this
makes their struggle more viable. It is no longer
just the individual against oppression, where the
fight is very unbalanced. The process of liberation
is more feasible when it is a joint project of libera-
tion for themselves and the contexts within which
they live. A project that is educational for people
and their contexts. A shared project that is worth
fighting for.
My father wants us to study... and he says… says it
over and over again, that he fights and has fought a
lot, and suffered a lot, and he wants to get at least
see one of his children go to university. And I think
that with my brother Nordin we will succeed in doing
this… (Interview with Yushra, Nordin’s older sister).
One cannot fight alone against the world. Peo-
ple need to find reference points on which to rely,
find compassion (people who find value in suf-
fering the pain of others) and form a community.
Compassion, as explained by Buxarrais (2006) is
far removed from mere pity. The challenge of true
compassion is to become one with the other, to
cross the narrow boundaries of individualism and
acknowledge that every other is another-like-me.
This is how compassion turns into commitment or
denouncement of the situation of another who
has had his dignity violated. When this occurs,
oppression loses power, and the subject and
the community in which they are based emerge
together.
Neighbour 2: I love all of these teachers very much
(referring to teachers and social workers). Because
they have been through a lot with this neighbour-
hood, they were always there. Especially Javier.
Neighbour 1: For better or for worse they have been
there.
Neighbour 2: Javier is always there. He is the best.
Neighbour 1: He has had good moments and bad mo-
ments with us and the neighbourhood.
Neighbour 1: Javier more than the rest. Because he
got into everything he could. (Focus Group, Neigh-
bours and relatives of Francisco’s).
Human support is what tells you that the others are
with you, for whatever you need (Interview with José
Francisco, Rafael’s brother).
‘Human support’ is what provides the three
individuals in our case studies with the greatest
meaning to continue their struggle, to overcome
the limits of the individualistic logic that society is
imbued with. Collaboration is one of the greatest
tools we have to cross borders, to ‘open doors’,
and to question perspectives that are based on
efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
Supporting aids people in ‘coming out of the
coffin’ of exclusion, breaking the boundaries
with the ‘other world’, ‘opening doors’ and enter-
ing a ‘new life’ without resigning themselves to
inequality.
This support process becomes an educational
process that breaks moulds, challenges hegemon-
ic interpretations of reality and generates resil-
ient processes of empowerment and freedom. In
these cases, it is not only an unconditional sup-
port of the individual, but at the same time it is
becomes subversion against marginalisation.
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...it is through street education that processes or
movements to reverse marginalisation begin. One ex-
ample of this was when we accompanied the neigh-
bourhood residents when they held a demonstration
and blocked the street to complain about the way
they were being treated.’ (Interview with Juanma, an
educator in Francisco’s neighbourhood)
Researcher: Do you think people treat Nordin well?
Friend 1: Not sure.
Friend 2: Especially those...
Friend 3: Especially those who are not in his class.
Friend 2: I don’t know, they don’t treat him very well,
and they don’t speak to him much.
Friend 1: We often protect him.
Researcher: Really? You protect him? From what?
Friend 2: From some...
Friend 3: Some kids who want to be...
Friend 2: There are some racists in the school’ (Focus
group, Friends of Nordin’s).
Teacher: Later I learned that there had been prob-
lems for him to access the conservatory; the truth is
that his family fought a lot in that respect, they even
contacted the Ombudsman... Fortunately everything
turned out well, and Rafa joined the conservatory.
(Interview with Rafael’s teacher).
Researcher: I would like to know why you sided with
Rafa, while the teachers and the Administration said
otherwise.
Ombudsman: I always put myself on the side of the
person who has the problem (in inverted commas).
Because otherwise... Why would I side with the Ad-
ministration? I choose the person... And obviously,
when you side with the person, you fight (José Cham-
izo, Ombudsman of Andalusia, in an interview based
on Rafael’s case).
In that path to liberation, resisting, interpret-
ing and creating does not suffice. The situation
requires a degree of systematic analysis and di-
alogic learning, as well as the design of intelligent
actions (including all types of intelligence) which
are consistent and durable. These constructions
should illustrate the educational processes that
enable the breaking—in a wedge-like manner—of
oppressive barriers that stubbornly emerge in our
society. The wedge forces itself into the barriers
when people and contexts do not yield to the
stigma and oppression and when dreams pre-
vail. These are strategic dreams; praxis, in Freire’s
terms (1992).
And why can’t I play the trumpet? (Interview with
Rafael)
And I wondered ... Why can’t I finish school? (Inter-
view with Francisco)
If I set myself to do something, I succeed. (Interview
with Nordin)
In 10 years if I could, at least I’d like to be living a quiet
life with my family, outside asperones, and being and
living well.’ (Interview with Francisco)
Dreams become the driving force of action.
As explicitly stated by the three individuals in our
case studies: ‘Why not me?’ Dreams work insofar
as they contribute to the construction of an iden-
tity that, in critical dialogue with the conditions of
their experience and their relationships, expand
their ideal and materially horizons and serve as
a trigger to improve their context (Ruiz Roman,
2003). Only unstolen dreams provide the fuel
needed to reach a different destination. A desti-
nation that is now not only for them but will also
cause the horizons in their immediate environ-
ments to expand.
This is why Francisco’s case is so important, because
it does away with the mark forced on him by the stig-
ma of Asperones. (Interview with Juanma, an educa-
tor in Asperones)
5. Conclusion
In this study we have seen how resilient dynamics
emerge through successive phases: the oppres-
sion caused by the stigma, the resistance to it and
the empowerment that arises from socio-educa-
tional support. In the resilient dynamics that have
been analysed in this comparative study of cases
there is a first phase marked by stigma and op-
pression, in which the social system oppresses Ra-
fael, Francisco and Nordin, and robs them of their
humanity. ‘Not being a person’, ‘being in the cof-
fin’, ‘blocking you’ and being thrown into ‘another
world’ are ways of relating to the individual that
denote exclusion and dehumanising oppressive
processes.
After this there is a second phase, which is
marked by resistance (Castells, 1997) and empow-
erment. This resistance is no stranger to pain and
suffering, because oppression causes ‘suffering,
feeling bad, crying, bleeding...’, all of which result
from the power relations some people have with
others. But in these resilient dynamics, pain acts
as an incentive not only for the individuals being
studied, but for their families and educators and
for those who feel the pain of others and do not
stand still.
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Oppression and the suffering that it gener-
ates invites ‘the struggle’; the struggle for em-
powerment (Freire, 1985). Empowerment serves
to question, reconceptualise and reinterpret the
hegemonic systems of social meaning, and imple-
ments strategies to try to redress the unfair bal-
ance of the conditions of the individual’s experi-
ence. Thanks to this rebellious stage, projection
and transformation is possible by creating dreams,
‘opening doors’, returning from ‘another world’,
thus entering into a third phase.
These resilient dynamics cause mutual coop-
eration throughout between the individuals in the
case studies and their environments. Resilience is
always based on the relationship with others and
on meaning, which may be mutually reinforced.
Meaning is often constructed on a mobilising pro-
ject, linking the interests of the person and their
skills in a process that stimulates growth. There-
fore, it is necessary to continue to delve into this
area of research. It is essential to further explore
the potential that educational support has as a
tool that simultaneously helps the person develop
and generates social transformation. The research
project that this paper grew out of aims to investi-
gate in the coming years what potential resilience
may have beyond the development of personal
qualities, as a transformative process for individ-
uals and communities.
Resilience then moves from being a quality to
being a community educational action. Since it
is collectively developed, resilience holds within
it the potential for social transformation through
which the subject becomes a person who is able
to break free and to realise their dreams.
This is where education must find its place, in
dreams of transformation. Education is located
between our reality and our dreams (Calderón-Al-
mendros, 2014). Everything can be improved: the
individual, society, the world. It is a phenomenon
that fosters the freedom of individuals, and can
promote social justice and equal opportunities. To
do this, it should incorporate dreams, for without
them it loses much of its nature and denies the
projection that it seeks to construct. Educational
settings must become dream incubators, in which
people are able to build their freedom in a com-
munity and project themselves within it.
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1 ‘Moro’ is a derogatory term sometimes used in Spain to refer to people from northern Africa, particularly from
Morocco.
eISSN: 1989-9742 © SIPS. DOI: 10. SE7179/PSRI_2017.29.09
http://recyt.fecyt.es/index.php/PSRI/ [134]
[Cristóbal RUIZ-ROMÁN, Ignacio CALDERÓN-ALMENDROS & Jesús JUÁREZ PÉREZ-CEA]
SIPS - PEDAGOGÍA SOCIAL. REVISTA INTERUNIVERSITARIA [(2017) 29, 123-134] TERCERA ÉPOCA
Copyright © 2015 SIPS. Licencia Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial (by-nc) Spain 3.0
HOW TO CITE THE ARTICLE
Ruiz-Román, C., Calderón-Almendros, I. & Juárez J. (2017). La resiliencia como forma de resistir a
la exclusión social: un análisis comparativo de casos. Pedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria,
29, 123-134. DOI: 10.7179/PSRI_2017.29.09.
AUTHOR’S ADDRESS
Cristóbal Ruiz-Román: Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de Málaga. Campus de
Teatinos s/n. CP. 29071 Málaga. Email: xtobal@uma.es.
ACADEMIC PROFILE
Cristóbal Ruiz-Román: Es profesor del Departamento de Teoría e Historia de la Educación y Mé-
todos de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Educación (Universidad de Málaga-España), es miembro
del Grupo de Investigación Teoría de la Educación y Educación Social. Sus áreas de investigación
son la exclusión-inclusión socioeducativa, la desventaja sociocultural y los procesos socioeduca-
tivos resilientes. Ha escrito diversos trabajos sobre estas áreas. Actualmente es el director del
Proyecto de Investigación “Trabajo en red y Atención Socioeducativa para la promoción de la
Resiliencia de la Infancia en Riesgo Social” y miembro de la Mesa de Infancia de la Barriada de
Asperones en Málaga.
Ignacio Calderón-Almendros: Es profesor del Departamento de Teoría e Historia de la Educa-
ción y Métodos de Investigación y Diagnóstico en Educación (Universidad de Málaga-España).
Es miembro del Grupo de Investigación Teoría de la Educación y Educación Social. Sus áreas de
investigación son la desigualdad, los procesos de inclusión y exclusión educativa, y los estudios
sobre discapacidad.
Jesús Juárez Pérez-Cea: Diplomado en Educación social, Licenciado en Pedagogía en la Uni-
versidad de Málaga y Máster en Cambio Social y Profesiones Educativas impartido por la UMA.
Actualmente participa en el proyecto de investigación “Trabajo en red y Atención Socioeducativa
para la promoción de la Resiliencia de la Infancia en Riesgo Social”. En el ámbito profesional
trabaja en Cáritas Diocesana de Málaga como Educador Social en un proyecto de Educación de
Calle en barrios excluidos socialmente.
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... A good teacher conceives the culture of diversity and creates spaces where they foster interculturality among students. Therefore, it is intended that teachers be formed from a multicultural vision, promoting positive values and through an effective and resilient leadership (Ruiz-Román, Calderón-Almendros & Juárez Pérez-Cea, 2017). The implementation of an educational leadership that promotes the development of an inclusive professional culture, the creation of collaborative networks, and the celebration of difference are essential (Gómez-Hurtado, González-Falcón & Coronel, 2017). ...
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... A good teacher conceives the culture of diversity and creates spaces where they foster interculturality among students. Therefore, it is intended that teachers be formed from a multicultural vision, promoting positive values and through an effective and resilient leadership (Ruiz-Román, Calderón-Almendros & Juárez Pérez-Cea, 2017). The implementation of an educational leadership that promotes the development of an inclusive professional culture, the creation of collaborative networks, and the celebration of difference are essential (Gómez-Hurtado, González-Falcón & Coronel, 2017). ...
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