Using survey data to explore preschool children’s ethnic awareness and attitudes

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents the findings of a large-scale survey (n = 1049) of ethnic awareness and attitudes among three to four-year-old children in Northern Ireland. In drawing upon and applying Bourdieu’s notion of habitus, the article demonstrates how, even at this age, the children are already beginning to embody and internalize the cultural habits and dispositions of their respective ethnic groups; namely the Protestant and Catholic communities. This is illustrated in the present article in relation to the children’s attitudes towards particular national flags and awareness of specific sports associated with their respective communities. Informed by the work of Bourdieu, the article concludes by arguing for the need for greater use of quantitative methods in conjunction with in-depth qualitative and ethnographic research to help further our understanding of the influence of ethnicity in young children’s lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Jun 2011


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