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An exploration of young children's ethnic identities as communities of practice

Barron, Ian (2007) An exploration of young children's ethnic identities as communities of practice. British journal of sociology of education, 28 (6). pp. 739-752. ISSN 0142-5692

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Abstract

This study is concerned with experiences of ethnic identity amongst a group of three-year-old and four-year-old children, four-fifths of whom are of Pakistani heritage and the remainder of white indigenous heritage. Focused on a nursery school in the United Kingdom, the study explores the relationship between the individual and the social and cultural, initially in the home and then as the children start nursery school. An ethnographic approach is used to record the children's daily experiences and relationships as contexts where they reveal, shape and reshape who they are. Children's ethnic identities are explored in relation to boundaries where different communities of practice collide, alongside other aspects such as gender and sexuality and under the influence of factors such as power and religion. What appears to emerge is a sense of ethnic identity as social practice and performance rather than as the result of maturation or of internal cognitive development.

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