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Session Overview
RN04_02a_P: Children’s Identities II
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Randi Dyblie Nilsen, NTNU
Location: PC.2.8
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 2.

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Constructing children's national identities through waved and unwaved flags

Nehir Gündoğdu

Independant researcher, Turkey

Children encounter with waved and unwaved flags in schools that remind them of national identities every day.While Billig’s (1995) banal nationalism concept helps to understand institutions' usage of national discourses to build their imagined communities (Anderson. 2006), Thompson’s (2001) local nationalism perspective points out individual’s engagement with these discourses in the construction of national identities. By engaging both ideas, this paper aims to discuss what national identity reminders are around children specifically in preschool context and how children understand and perform these reminders. I will try to argue these questions based on my field study in Ankara capital of Turkey. The study has conducted in two state preschool classrooms between September 2013 and March 2014 by participant of 49 children aged between 5 and 6, two preschool teachers, two assistants of teacher and four managers. Observation suggests that the children construct their national identities through the discourses offered bypreschool curriculum and teachers.On the other hand, the findings show that the children did not absorb and take on board all the messages they receive about national identity. This reminds us that children also create their own meanings. In addition to this, although some children interpreted national symbols and rituals in a way that differed based on preschool curriculum and staff expectations, they did not also question or search for other ways of beings. This may mean that children did not know what exists beyond the boundaries that are given to them.

Migrant children’s identity construction: education as socialisation venue in complex migratory contexts

Chiara Massaroni

Universität Innsbruck, Austria

While it is without doubt that education has a paramount role in ensuring socio-cultural integration and influencing migrant children’s identity, research has been largely influenced by two limiting assumptions. First, it often focuses on curricular approaches, overlooking the role of educational settings as socialisation venues. Secondly, it is embedded in a dichotomous interpretation of migrations (push-pull, illegal-legal, North- South) and is influenced by the “permanent settlement migration paradigm” (Agunias, 2006). Migration, however, is a complex phenomenon and migrants continuously forge multiple forms of belonging across nations or communities, constructing diverse personal plans and life narratives. Morocco is an example of such complexity, being a crossroad of continental migrations, a temporary and long-term transit hub and a destination county, where migrants constantly renegotiate various interpretations of belonging.

This paper looks at educational settings (formal and non-formal) as socialisation sites for young migrant children between 6 and 12 in Morocco. I will interpret the Moroccan migratory scenario and educational offers through the combined lenses of psychosocial identity theory and multi-dimensional perspective on migrations. I will argue that, for educational spaces to foster a positive sense of self for migrant children, it is necessary to understand the complex dynamics correlated to modern migrations and the influence that elements such as hopes, expectations, local and transnational networks can have in shaping the child’s identity.

Migration, identity and childhood: Exproring young migrants' ethnonational identifications and belonging

Eugenia Katartzi

University of Leeds, United Kingdom

In the era of unprecedented migration waves an ever-increasing number of children and young people experience, mobility and dislocation as crucial part of their lives (United Nations, 2016). More than ever children and young people move between and across states leading transnational and translocal lives, thereby disrupting the idealized notion of childhood as unfolding in fixed and bounded spaces (Ní Laoire et al., 2010). The presentation seeks to shed light on the intricate relationship between migration, 'identity' and belonging by focusing on young migrants, a group placed on the periphery of scholarship and public debate. Based upon a qualitative study of youth identities in the context of Greek society, the key objective is to examine ethno-national identifications, formed through the dialectic of self-definition and categorization. The narrative analysis of young migrants’ in-depth interviews unpacks how their sense of belonging and emotional attachments to their countries of origin and settlement are mediated by processes of racialization and othering. Young migrants’ narratives point to an understanding of identifications and belonging -what comes to be seen as ‘identity’- as deeply socio-politically bounded processes in the frame of which boundaries are being drawn and bonds are forged and inter-subjectively negotiated on the basis of alleged similarities and differences between the ‘self’ and ‘others’, ‘us’ and ‘them’.

LANGUAGE AS A MEANS FOR ETHNIC IDENTITY FENCING OR BRIDGING? Multilingual children’s perspectives on the relation between ethnic identification and language.

Graziela Dekeyser1, Paul Puschmann1,2, Gray Swicegood1

1Ku Leuven, Belgium; 2Radboud University Nijmegen

Antwerp (in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) is turning into a minority-majority city, characterized by superdiversity in terms of ethnicity, culture and language. Against this new reality, we investigate how 10-12 year old multilingual children perceive the relationship between language use and proficiency on the one hand and ethnic identification on the other. These children are part of many social groups (e.g. social class, sex, age, leisure activity groups) besides the own ethnocultural minority group and thus have multiple identities. Questions arise then to which degree 1) children view their language use as implicated in their ethnic identity and 2) whether language functions as a way to draw ethnic boundaries or, conversely, as a means to bridge the distance between ethnic groups.

We use data from the multi-method Multilingualism in Antwerp study (Dekeyser, 2016). Focus groups were organized with children to discuss several language dimensions (e.g. language use, management and ideologies) in their everyday lives. By means of vignettes and yes/no statements, children were asked to voice how they link language practices and proficiency to feelings of belonging, ethnic identity and processes of social exclusion and inclusion. The focus groups were stratified according to sex, ethnicity, migration generation, and children’s perception of their schools’ policy toward the use of the home language, for 5th and 6th year pupils across 19 primary schools in Antwerp. This makes it possible to investigate intra- (e.g. across schools and/or sex) and interethnic differences. Cross-case analyses will be performed with NVIVO.

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