DS0803 - Éducation et apprentissages

Class and gendered childhoods: early socializations under multiple constraints of 5-6 year old children – PRIMSOC

Class childhoods and social inequalities

Early socializations of children in their last year of nursery school / Our research focuses on the social differentiation of socializations during early childhood. The times of primary socialization play indeed a decisive part in the social shaping of individuals, in the constitution of the first mental and behavioural dispositions (dispositions to believe, appreciate, feel, think, and to act) which have lasting effects

Understanding the early constitution of social inequalities

? By focusing on socializations of children in their last year of nursery school, the research attempts at seizing early constitution processes of social-class inequalities. Documenting class childhoods makes it possible to objectify often considerable gaps between the worlds in which children construct themselves (i.e in which they construct their skills and appetences, their mental and behavioural dispositions, and essentially structure what is often called their “personality”). <br />The time of childhood is a time of multiple socializations, during which can be felt the joint – and sometimes contradictory – influences of the family (and inside the family, the influence of parents, step-parents, siblings or even extended family), of the nanny or childcare agents, of nursery or elementary schools, of childhood professionals (paediatricians, speech therapists, psychologists, etc.), of peer groups (fellow pupils, neighbours, the children of the parents’ friends) and of cultural industries, audio-visual media and information and communications technologies. In order to think children sociologically, the research therefore attempts at seizing their place and their “treatment” within configurations of relations of interdependence formed by all these actors<br />

Very detailed case-studies will focus on 36 children, boys and girls, belonging to varied social contexts and on their entourage: father, mother, brothers and sisters (and any other family member playing an important part in the child’s socialization), nanny or crèche agents, nursery school teachers and classmates or neighbours. This unprecedented enquiry will be based on a corpus of around 200 in-depth interviews with the children’s socialising agents, on ethnographic observations in relevant contexts accessible to investigators (places of family life, places of childcare, school, etc.) and on the study of documentation (child health records, school records, etc.). The children will also be asked to express themselves on their preferences and to produce self-presentation accounts.

The first case-studies have been carried out and cleary show that material, cultural and linguistic inequalities have effects from the first years of children living in the same society, yet not really in the same world

The main contribution of our research lies in the detailed character of the qualitative fieldwork being carried out. By focusing on several actors of the children’s socialization, i.e on family configurations but also on relations that young children forge with people who are not part of the family circle (mainly nannies and teachers), the project differs from studies examining only one area of practice and not necessarily attempting at seizing the joint or combined socializing influences on the same children.

The publisher La Découverte has agreed to publish a book based on the research project.

The purpose of the research project entitled “early socializations” is to study the processes and actors involved in the socialization of children aged 5-6. Working on young children is essential given the considerable effect of early socialization on children’s destinies. The times of primary socialization play indeed a decisive part in the social shaping of individuals, in the constitution of the first mental and behavioral dispositions (dispositions to believe, appreciate, feel, think, and to act) which have lasting effects. Such dispositions are not socially “neutral”: they are moral, cultural, scholarly, economic, corporeal, and health resources or on the contrary “impairments” or obstacles to educational or professional success. Thus grasping such processes of early making of social inequalities, in terms of class and gender, the project aims at contributing to shedding light on “the mechanisms underlying the reproduction of inequalities” (cf. call for projects for the challenge “Innovative, inclusive and adaptive societies”) and hence at providing useful knowledge in order to implement democratic policies aiming at reducing major inequalities.

The PRIMSOC project hopes to fill two gaps. Firstly, the gap of most sociological approaches of childhood which neglect the effects of social differentiation; secondly, the gap of statistical surveys which only record retrospectively the effects of socialization but do not study empirically and ethnographically its concrete conditions. Moreover, there are few French studies devoted to socializations in early childhood. The sociological enquiry undertaken in this project will precisely aim at studying accurately and thoroughly the socializations in order to reveal the multiple constraints – and their combined effects – contributing to the precocious constitution of class and gendered childhoods. The study will be undertaken at the level of individual cases and will not be limited to one area of practice. Very detailed case-studies will focus on 36 children, boys and girls, belonging to varied social contexts and on their entourage: father, mother, brothers and sisters (and any other family member playing an important part in the child’s socialization), nanny or crèche agents, nursery school teachers and classmates or neighbors. This unprecedented enquiry will be based on a corpus of 180 in-depth interviews with the children’s socializing agents, on ethnographic observations in relevant contexts accessible to investigators (places of family life, places of childcare, school, etc.) and on the study of documentation (child health records, school records, etc.). The children will also be asked to express themselves on their preferences and to produce self-presentation accounts.

PRIMSOC is a collaborative project between two research laboratories specialized in sociology sharing the same approach on socialization and including researchers recognized in the areas of speciality covered by the research (sociology of education, sociology of the family, sociology of culture, sociology of gender, sociology of health, sociology of sport and the body): the Centre Max Weber (team « Dispositions, pouvoirs, cultures et socialisations », ENS de Lyon) and the team « Sports, organisations, identités » of the laboratory « Programme de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences du sport et du mouvement » (Université Toulouse III). The consortium – which will make a scientifically coherent research possible – is placed under the scientific responsibility of Bernard Lahire, a renowned researcher (CNRS silver medal) specialized in issues of education and socialization.

Project coordination

Bernard Lahire (Laboratoire "Centre Max Weber" - Equipe Dispositions, pouvoirs, cultures et socialisations)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

PRISSMH-SOI Laboratoire "Programme de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences du sport et du mouvement" - Equipe Sports, organisations, identités
CMW-DPCS Laboratoire "Centre Max Weber" - Equipe Dispositions, pouvoirs, cultures et socialisations

Help of the ANR 298,721 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2014 - 42 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés

 

 

ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter