Competencia digital y alfabetización digital de los adultos
International Journal of New Education
ISSN: 2605-1931 Nº 4, Diciembre (2019)
Transformación social y cultura de convivencia

Recibido: 2 de septiembre de 2019 / Revisado: 28 de septiembre de 2019
Aceptado: 23 de octubre de 2019 / Publicado: 20 de diciembre de 2019

Didactics and School Organization Department,
University of Murcia, Spain


La creciente presencia de las personas migrantes de múltiples procedencias en España reviste una importancia cuantitativa muy significativa en cuanto a la pirámide de población. Esta realidad dinámica y cambiante plantea nuevos desafíos en la transformación y cohesión social en un escenario complejo, con numerosos frentes abiertos que gestionar. El objetivo principal de este trabajo se centra en explorar el estado de convivencia en contextos con alta y baja diversidad cultural, describiendo a su vez las interacciones en diferentes espacios y recursos compartidos en la comunidad autónoma de la Región de Murcia. Los resultados apuntan que las interacciones interculturales se expresan de manera diferente, según el contexto y el grado de diversidad cultural de cada comunidad. A la luz de estos hallazgos, se estima necesaria la gestión de la coexistencia invirtiendo el respeto pasivo y la indiferencia, en interacciones pacificas y positivas encaminadas hacia la construcción de la cultura de convivencia

PALABRAS CLAVE: Diversidad cultural, coexistencia, convivencia, interacción positiva.


Social transformation and cohabitation culture

Growing presence of migrants from multiple places in Spain is of a very significant quantitative importance regarding the population pyramid. This dynamic and changing reality poses new challenges in transformation and social cohesion in a complex scenario, with numerous open fronts to manage. This work main objective focuses on exploring cohabitation state in contexts with high and low cultural diversity, describing at the same time the interactions in different spaces and shared resources in Región de Murcia. The results indicate that intercultural interactions are expressed differently, depending on the context and the cultural diversity degree of each community. In the light of these findings, it is considered necessary to manage coexistence by investing passive respect and indifference in peaceful and positive interactions aimed at building a cohabitation culture.

KEYWORDS: Cultural diversity, coexistence, cohabitation, positive interaction.

1. Introduction

As well is known, Spain began to experience a migratory transition flow at the beginning of the 19th century, reaching greater intensity and speed in the last three decades, encompassing multiple origins with different views and perspectives in all autonomous communities. This social transformation process can take place in positive and enriching cohabitation contexts, or from hostility and rejection, bearing in mind, social relations, with or without migrant population, have always been associated to three interrelated categories among themselves, and that would be coexistence, coexistence and hostility (Giménez, 2005).

In this sense, an exhaustive review of abundant research about migratory phenomenon leads us to the encounter between people and groups with distinctive values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours and, therefore, peculiarities and proper traits that have supposed psychological borders between them (Hui, Chen, Leung and Berry, 2005; Labedeva, Tatarko and Berry, 2016). Unfortunately, this difference has often been used to establish marginalization and, therefore, structural violence very palpable in today’s society. Nevertheless, all frontiers are permeable, because in a multicultural society the exchange is unavoidable and it will derive in new social identities, new cultural codes and new experiences both positive and negative as a result of encounters and misunderstandings, advances and setbacks (Brown y Zagefka, 2011), which are the reflection of difficulties faced by intercultural cohabitation.

The distribution and the concentration of these “new” citizens is characterized by inequalities, both between the autonomous communities and within their different contexts, producing environments with high cultural diversity and others with low diversity. All this is the result of difficulties, among others, of equal access to such a basic right as housing, promoted by the reckless misalignment of social policy in the migration area. From this perspective the Strategic Spanish Plan for Citizenship and Integration (2011) by Spanish Ministry of Labour and Immigration, firmly committed to an integration strategy understood as two-way process of mutual adaptation that requires the participation of all citizens, migrants and locals, as well as host country institutions. In such a way as to guarantee migrants’ full economic, social, cultural and political participation, under conditions of equal treatment and equal opportunities, in search of the achievement of an inclusive and intercultural society.

While intercultural competence should be a condition for all individuals and groups in a multicultural society, it is sensitivity and willingness of receiving society, as a majority group, on which it will depend to establish greater ease or difficulty, in new social groups accommodation (Hindriks, Verkuyten and Coenders, 2015).

Consequently, cohabitation constitutes the greatest aspiration for all societies, since it is the only way to achieve well-being and prosperity for all. But it is not only a matter of wanting to live together, but of developing a certain degree of intercultural sensitivity or competence (Wang and Zhou, 2016). We must understand intercultural competence as the set of intercultural capacities, beliefs and attitudes necessaries to interact and live together in a positive way in multicultural societies.

Cohabitation is necessary to prevent conflicts, and also to promote participation and development of social and civic competence, eliminating barriers to learn and to participate. From all this comes the need to reflect about the society model that we want to shape, based on the adaptation assumption to circumstances, as well as responding to the interests and its resident population needs as a whole, anticipating the negative and disastrous consequences produced by hostility and rejection.

Obviously, institutional positions and plans are confronted with prejudices on a part of population, which does not always share or understand integration premises and objectives. Prejudices that are beliefs, sustained in a perceived sense of threat and insecurity before unknown individuals and groups, and that are expressed as hostile attitudes and behaviours towards the other (Miglietta, Gattino and Esses, 2014). Along the same lines, authors such as Gattino, Tartaglia, Rollero and De Piccoli (2019) argue that dominant majority ideologies can trigger exclusionary responses, based on prejudices and stereotypes, using threat to the national identification and identity and, therefore, to local stability.

In view of the above, it should be added that a negative correlation between the migrant population and the high rate of crime and citizen insecurity is frequently established. Fundamentally, without paying attention to other relevant aspects and indicators in this sense, such as unemployment rates, citizens’ education level, population’s concentration in vulnerable contexts, as well as the special attention to the needs and citizens’ interests, which often does not coincide with the social policies planned and managed by the different institutions and public administrations.

2. Investigation method

In the present case, quantitative methodology was used in order to know the social relations state in communities with high and low cultural diversity. According to the proposed purposes, the different social spaces where intercultural relations may occur, have been taken into account, as well as expressing one type of sociability or another, specifically determining and analysing the two selected contexts. In this sense, we understand that the sum of relational experiences in each context are the perception inducers that individuals and groups have about cohabitation and satisfaction degree perceived by residents regarding their vital experience, in their own context or community.

2.1 Objectives

The main purpose of this research was to explore the cohabitation state in contexts with high and low cultural diversity. More specifically, the following objectives, which were establish, were:

  • To describe the existing intercultural relations in communities with high and low cultural diversity.
  • To analyse the intercultural relations in relation with the space or context where the interaction takes place.
  • To determine the satisfaction degree perceived by residents who live in their community.

2.2 Sample

As stated above, migrant population’s presence has led changes in social reality in all autonomous communities. However, migrants’ mobility and insertion are more significant and visible in some contexts than in others. For this reason, it was considered appropriate to make a comparative approximation about cohabitation state in communities with high cultural diversity, especially in a peripheral zone of a vulnerable context, where rent prices of dwellings are more affordable. Furthermore, in a context with low cultural diversity in the city centre, where rents are more expensive. In this sense, the participation was about 250 people surveyed in total, 125 residents in each context previously revealed.

2.3 Instrument

As a tool for collecting information, we opted for the survey because it is a procedure that is particularly suitable to describe different communities’ attitudes and behaviour and for being able to compare the results and draw conclusions. Taking into account that quantitative research allows us to describe and explain cause and effect relationship, giving greater credibility to the phenomena studied when quantifying statistical data (Ugalde and Balbastre, 2013). For the survey design, we have based ourselves on the proposal implemented by Giménez y Lobera (2014) to evaluate a project called Intercultural Community Intervention Project (Proyecto de Intervención Comunitaria Intercultural en España). In this research, the authors designed a tool which translates the different types of interaction between neighbours in the form of questions. Thus, the survey gathers questions that investigate on the different types of relations between inhabitants, considering different interaction spaces; in addition, it investigates about the perception that the residents have on coexistence state in their community. This approach facilities to link the questions formulated with categories “cohabitation”, “coexistence” or “hostility”; which as it was advanced in the theorical framework define different modes of sociability.

2.4 Procedure

Once the two contexts with high and low cultural diversity had been identified, first contacts were made with different technicians and social agents, in order to ask for authorization and make appointments at the residents’ meeting points. Numerous groups were accessed, such as day centres, cultural centres and associations from the third sector. Likewise, it was clarified to the possible participants that the estimated time to complete the survey would be fifteen or twenty minutes, guaranteeing at all the times the anonymity and confidentiality of those surveyed. The instrument was developed at the dates and times agreed with the participants and, once the surveys had been collected, the quantitative processing of the data provided began in order to transform them into percentages.

3. Results

The results are set out below in line with the objectives set:

Objetive 1: To describe the intercultural relations existing in communities with high and low cultural diversity.

Qualification of existing intercultural relations in contexts with low and high cultural diversity (2018)

Tabla 1. Qualification of existing intercultural relations in contexts with low and high cultural diversity (2018).

From the information contained in Table 1, it can be inferred that intercultural relations indicate that in HCD (High Cultural Diversity) context, a 45 % of those surveyed have admitted to engaging in conversation from time to time compared to a 22 % in contexts with LCD (Low Cultural Diversity). As for people who have stated that they only limit themselves to greeting each other in HCD, it is shown a 25 % and in LCD this figure drops to a 16 %. As far as it refers, the interviewees confirm that they have friendship with people coming from other cultures, in HCD is a 20 %, LCD is an 8 %. And of the people who indicate that they only know foreign people and the inverse of sight in HCD is a 9 % and in LCD ascends to a 63 %. Likewise, those surveyed who aim to exercise sporadic cooperation in HCD, it is shown a significant group that reaches a 34 %, however, the LCD does not exceed the 12 %.

As for the people who usually contact with foreign people in the neighbourhood and vice versa in HCD is a 11 %, and in LCD decreases in a 5 %. Similarly, those surveyed who have indicated that in HCD a 4 % are invited to their homes, and the LCD barely exceeds the 1 %. With regard to people who show that there is no relationship, but people let live is respected, there is hardly any conflict, in HCD is shown a 30 %, and in LCD a 26 %. Of the participants who confirm that there is a good relationship and, if a problem arises, it is resolved peacefully, in HCD a 15 %, and in LCD a 5 %. And finally, respondents who warm that there is tension and even hostility in HCD is shown a 3 % compared to a 0 % in LCD.

Objective 2: To analyse intercultural relations according to the space or context in which the interaction takes place.

Relationship qualifications between neighbours of buildings as a space to interact (2018).

Tabla 2. Relationship qualifications between neighbours of buildings as a space to interact (2018).

As reflected in Table 2, the relations between neighbours of buildings as a space to interact confirm that neighbours who consider themselves to enjoy a good cohabitation reach to a 92 % in HCD, however, in LCD it drops to 45 %. With regard to people who state that relationships are indifferent, but interact with education, values are reached in HCD a 69 % and in LCD a 28 %. As those surveyed who recognize that they have no treatment, in HCD stands out a 25 %, and in LCD it ascends to a 79 %. Furthermore, people who have observed and experienced bad relationship in HCD is shown a 3 %, and in LCD this data suffers a significant increase, reaching a 27 %.

Relationship qualifications about neighbours in the neighbourhood as a space to interact (2018).

Tabla 3. Relationship qualifications about neighbours in the neighbourhood as a space to interact (2018).

The information obtained in Table 3, regarding relations with neighbours in their neighbourhood as a space to interact, the results show that neighbours who consider that they enjoy a good cohabitation in HCD accumulate up the 100 %, and in LCD it reaches to a 45 %. The participants who declare that relations are indifferent, but interact with education, in HCD exceeds to a 63 %, and in LCD ascends to an 81 %. In terms of people who respond that there is no treatment, in HCD the percentage is a 22 % and in LCD it reaches to a 41 %. Finally, people who conclude that there are bad relationships in LCD is shown as a 9 %, and in LCD as a 24 %.

The results reflected in Table 4, linked to the relationships that take place in school, cultural and sport centres as spaces to interact, indicate that neighbours consider that an 81 % enjoy of a good cohabitation in HCD, and in LCD it does not exceed of a 38 %. Regarding people who have nuanced that relationships are indifferent, but interact with education in HCD is a 59 %, and in LCD is striking that the data reaches the 70 %. As far as bad relations are concerned, there are few differences between HCD (16 %) and LCD (17 %). Next, participants who reveal that they do not go to these places, in HCD ascends to a 15 %, being a 9 % in LCD.

Qualifications about friendship relations in school, cultural and sport centres as spaces to interact (2018).

Tabla 4. Qualifications about friendship relations in school, cultural and sport centres as spaces to interact (2018).

Qualification of relations in parks and gardens as spaces to interact (2018).

Tabla 5. Qualification of relations in parks and gardens as spaces to interact (2018).

From data synthesized in Table 5, relates with the type of relationship that arise in parks and gardens as spaces to interact, neighbours who consider that they enjoy a good cohabitation in HCD rises to a 77 %, and in LCD to a 42 %. Next, people who emphasize that relationships are indifferent, but interact with education, it is shown in HCD as a 63 %, and in LCD as a 64 %. People who state that there is no treatment in HCD refers to 24 %, and in LCD it increases to a 60 %. As for the participants who denounce that there are bad relations in HCD it reflects a 14 %, and in LCD it reflects a 23 %. Finally, respondents who confess that they do not go to these places, in HCD constitute a 17 % and in LCD an 8 %.

Objective 3: To determine satisfaction degree perceived in residents do their life in their community.

Satisfaction perceived by residents who live their life in their community (2018).

Tabla 6. Satisfaction perceived by residents who live their life in their community (2018).

Regarding satisfaction perceived by residents who live their life in their community, Table 6 shows that both HCD and LCD the 100 % of those surveyed consider that it is a good neighbourhood to live in. From people who show that their context has experienced cohabitations conflicts in HCD reaches a 16 % and in LCD reaches a 23 %. Respondents who believe that this is a normal neighbourhood like any other, in HCD constitutes the 46 % and in LCD a 27 %. As for the people who indicate that the context in which they reside is safe, in HCD is indicated a 37 % and in LCD a 40 %. Those who report that the neighbourhood is hostile barely exceed a 1 % in HCD, and a 0 % in LCD.

4. Conclusions

The conclusions reveal a key dimensions battery, deepening the existence or absence of impersonal contact, as well as the elements perceived or manifested by respondents. All of them, linked to three indicators of sociability modes, previously exposed and which are detailed below:

Cohabitant perception: The cohabitation declared by the participants is expressed differently, according to the context and the cultural diversity degree of each cohabitation community. In HCD community, the interaction with neighbours of buildings, as well as with neighbourhood residents is valued with very high scores. High scores are also collected when refence is made to the cultural exchange that takes place in school, cultural and sport centres, and in parks and gardens. However, these data descend significantly in LCD neighbourhoods, in terms of interaction between neighbours of buildings and neighbourhood residents, and in school, cultural and sport centres, as well as in parks and gardens.

Coexistence perception: Coexistence manifested by respondents is also reflected differently in both contexts. In this sense, in HCD community, there is a relationship, but people let live each other, they respect everybody, there are hardly any conflicts. However, in LCD community, data obtained express low values in this aspect. In HCD, the existence of good relations is striking, although these are indifferent in terms of the different spaces to interact -buildings; neighbourhood; school, cultural and sport centres; gardens and parks- together with low values that appear when it comes to people who recognise that they have no treatment at all.

Hostility perception: Hostility recognised in HCD community is reflected as low and very low values obtained in terms of bad relations established in different spaces -buildings; neighbourhoods; school, cultural and sport centre; parks and gardens-, and in LCD, low values are also found in these contexts. In terms of hostility, residents in HCD communities hardly notice hostility and in LCD communities, residents do not even consider that such a perception exists.

In the same way, it is the same to point out other dimensions that we consider relevant, since they allow us to deepen in the type of relationship that is exercised in the different contexts.

Positive interaction: In HCD community, those surveyed indicate that there is friendship, cooperation on occasion, they tend to meet in the neighbourhood, and they invite each other to their houses, colleting in this sense average values. However, in the community with LCD the reflected values are very low.

Passive respect: In HCD community, people who have conversations from time to time or who simply greet each other represent average values. However, in LCD community, these values are low.

Indifference: In HCD community, it is shown very low values, highlighting respondents who are only know by sight and ignored. As for the communities with LCD in relation to the indifference shown, medium and high values stand out.

From the above, it follows that in high cultural diversity (HCD) contexts, analysed values such as solidarity, flexibility and cooperation between disadvantage groups are more present among their residents, and this is often used to reduce social vulnerability degree in which they find themselves. As for the context with low cultural diversity (LCD), it should be stressed that it is essential to visualize cultural diversity in such contexts. In this sense, it should be borne in mind that ignorance and fear consequences of what is different, exacerbates the gap in interpersonal relations between residents, as revealed by the data analysed in this study.

With the incorporation of people from different cultures who share the same spaces and resources as the rest of native population, we understand that population are sensitized, on the way to understanding the social transformation that is taking place in our communities.

This information is valuable to examine the state of integration and, consequently, the state of programs or actions that are being carried out for intercultural cohabitation or, in the worst case, into hostility (Giménez, 2005). In any case, it must be considered that these are dynamic situation that occur in a spatiotemporal context and these can change from one sociability situation to another (Giménez and Lobera, 2014). From all this, we consider an incipient need to implement education and social policies that guarantee a coexistence culture construction, and that allow us to reflect on the model of society that we want to stablish for future generations.

Of course, the aspiration of every society is a peaceful cohabitation that allows to generate well-being and prosperity for all. Consequently, positive cohabitation requires the integration of all groups and individuals and requires certain intercultural sensitivity or competence to guide social interactions that are so necessary and pressing (Chamseddine, 2015). Starting from premise, Leiva (2013) bets on an educational model that visualizes the enrichment and recognition of the cultural values diversity, from pedagogical and inclusive perspective, since being acculturated to face uncertainty in the face of what is different, it often produces an atavistic fear.

This can only be abandoned with an inclusive school whose teachers should be the protectors of discrepancies and promoters of diversity and cohabitation value, allowing a different opinion without being considered dangerous or a reason for social exclusion (Pineda, 2011). Villalba 2016, for this part, calls for the need to transform curricular practices in order to provide an inclusive, humanist and integral formation, as pillars that sustain the being and the knowing of how to live together, with a critical sense capacity to promote cohabitation and a positive peace culture.

From this perspective, in the diagnosis of the cultural diversity cohabitation carried out in the region Bajo Aragón-Caspe (2018), it is argued that all measures proposed should have the complicity and involvement of different foreign communities of that region. Bearing in mind that, at present, there is no social fabric in which they are represented, they do not have clear interlocutor with the administration and, with the exception of the cohabitation table, there are no spaces for citizen participation in which their voice is one more.

However, if a cohesive community and a positive cohabitation are to be achieved, the formulation and public integration execution policies must be carried out by all, guaranteeing spaces for participation in which all voices are represented. In short, a process of building a common present and future, emphasizing, among other elements, access to housing and its location in the urban space that minimizes ghettos formation and exclusionary contexts, and all this with the aim of addressing the coexistence management, investing passive respect and indifference in peaceful and positive interaction aimed at building a cohabitation culture.

Biographical references

Brown, R., y Zagefka, H. (2011). The dynamics of acculturation: An intergroup perspective. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 129-184.

Cooperativa de iniciativa social. (2018). Diagnóstico de la convivencia en la diversidad cultural en la comarca del Bajo Aragón-Caspe/Baix Aragó-Casp. Atelier de Ideas.

Chamseddine, M. (2015). La construcción de identidad compartida en un aula intercultural. Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 18 (3), 69-81.

Gattino, S., Tartaglia, S., Rollero, C & De Piccoli, N. (2019). The Relationship between Local Identification, Urban Disorder Sensitivity, and Prejudice Toward Immigrants: The Role of Autochthony. American Journal of Community Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ajcp.12348

Giménez, C. (2005). Convivencia: Conceptualización y sugerencias para la praxis. Cuadernos Puntos de Vista, Observatorio de las Migraciones y de la Convivencia Intercultural de la Ciudad de Madrid.

Giménez, C., y Lobera. J. (2014). Convivencia social e intercultural en territorios de alta diversidad: Encuesta 2012 sobre convivencia intercultural en el ámbito local: Segundo Informe general. Fundación “La Caixa”

Hindriks, P., Verkuyten, M., & Coenders, M. (2015). The evaluation of immigrants’ political acculturation strategies International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 47, 131-142.

Hui, B. P., Chen, S. X., Leung, C. M., y Berry, J. W. (2015). Facilitating adaptation and intercultural contact: The role of integration and multicultural ideology in dominant and non-dominant groups. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 45, 70-84.

Labedeva, N., Tatarko, A., y Berry, J. W. (2016). Intercultural relations among migrants from Caucasus and Russians in Moscow. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 52, 27-38.

Leiva Olivencia, J.J. (2013). Bases conceptuales de la educación intercultural. De la diversidad cultural a la cultura de la diversidad. Foro de educación, n.º 15, 69-197.

Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración. (2011). Plan Estratégico de Ciudadanía e Integración 2011-2014. Dirección General de Integración de los Inmigrantes. Recuperado de:

Miglietta, A., Gattino, S. & Esses, V (2014). What causes prejudice? How may we solve it? Lay beliefs and their relations with classical and modern prejudice and social dominance orientation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 40

Pineda Nebot, C. (2011). Mapa de participación ciudadana de los Ayuntamientos de la Comunidad autónoma de la Rioja. Revista Berceo, n.º 160, pp, 21-45.

Ugalde Binda, N y Balbastre Benavent, F. (2013). Investigación cuantitativa e investigación cualitativa. Buscando las ventajas de las diferentes metodologías de investigación. Revista Ciencias Económicas, n.º 31(2), 179-187.

Villalba Cano, J. (2016). Prácticas curriculares para una convivencia y cultura de paz positiva. Revista Itinerario Educativo, n.º 68, 131-146.

Wang, W., y Zhou, M. (2016). Validation of the short form of the intercultural sensitivity scale. Intercultural Journal of Intercultural Relations, 55, 1-7.

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.




Servicio de Publicaciones y Divulgación
Vicerrectorado de Investigación y Transparencia
Universidad de Málaga
Bulevar Louis Pasteur, 30.
Campus de Teatinos.
CP: 29010. Malaga.

Atención al público:
Lunes a viernes de 9:00 a 14:00 horas.