Briefing 6

Exploring Young Children’s Social Identities: Performing Social Class, Gender and Ethnicity in Primary School

Dr Marlies Kustatscher, University of Edinburgh

This briefing summarises the findings from CERES Co-Director Marlies Kustatscher’s PhD research conducted as part of her doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh between 2010-2015.

This study is based on an ethnographic research with a group of approx. 25 children aged 5-7 in a primary school in a Scottish city. The research explores how young children live their social identities in the context of a primary school. In particular, the project investigates the significance of social class, gender and ethnicity in the children’s identities and relationships.

While young children are sometimes seen as ‘too innocent’ or ‘too naïve’ to be concerned about these issues, this research showed that children are aware of general ideas and stereotypes about class, gender and ethnic identities. They also actively contribute to how such ideas and stereotypes come to be constructed and contested. This raises implications for education practitioners and policy makers to actively challenge intersectional inequalities in schools, and to involve children themselves in discussions about this.

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Briefing 5

Children’s Rights, Social Justice and Social Identities in Scotland: Intersections in Research, Policy and Practice

Dr Kristina Konstantoni (University of Edinburgh), Marlies Kustatscher (University of Edinburgh), Dr Akwugo Emejulo (University of Edinburgh), Dr Daniela Sime (University of Strathclyde)

This briefing paper summarises key information from the recent Scottish Universities Insight Institute Seminar series on Children’s Rights, Social Justice and Social Identities in Scotland: Intersections in Research, Policy and Practice (2013-2014).

The aim of this briefing is to introduce the concept of intersectionality and to understand its meanings and purposes in relation to childhood identities and inequalities. It summarises some of the debates about intersectionality by participants, discusses the implications for research, policy and practice, and concludes with details about the next steps for the project.

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Download CERES Briefing no. 5.


Briefing 4

Minority Ethnic Young People and the Scottish Independence Referendum

Professor Peter Hopkins (University of Newcastle), Dr Rowena Arshad (University of Edinburgh), Dr Gurchathen Sanghera (University of Saint Andrews), Dr Kate Botterill (University of Newcastle)

This briefing draws from an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project exploring the everyday geopolitics of young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds growing up in Scotland. The project began in 2013 and runs to 2016. The project is focussing on a number of issues relating to young people’s experiences of discrimination, the ways in which they are, or are not, mistaken for being Muslim (and so experience Islamophobia as a result), and their perceptions about everyday geopolitics.

As the period of study covered the timescale at which sixteen and seventeen year olds have been given the opportunity to vote in a major ballot in the UK, the Scottish Independence Referendum, the briefing extracts themes emerging from discussions about the referendum and independence. This briefing covers the period from November 2013 – July 2014.

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Download CERES Briefing No. 4.


Briefing 3

Women and Sectarianism in Scotland: Policing Ethno-Christian Relational Boundaries

Sara Diane Lindores, Independent Scholar

This briefing paper examines sectarianism and the gendered, social construction of ethno-Christian groups in Scotland. In this paper I explore the silence and invisibility of different women’s experiences of sectarianism and argue that the hegemonic masculinity of sectarianism tends to frame this social issue within public, male-dominated spheres such as football. As a result, I found that these masculine narratives seem to have impacted the female participants’ ability to articulate and accept the positionality of women in relation to sectarianism. The findings also point towards the gendered role of women as loyal protectors of identity in policing, maintaining and reproducing the sectarianized boundaries of ethno-Christian groups.

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Briefing 2

Between Scylla and Charybdis: Enterprise and Austerity as a Double Hazard for Non-Governmental Organisations in France and the UK

Dr. Akwugo Emejulu, University of Edinburgh                                                             Dr. Leah Bassel, University of Leicester

This briefing paper examines the rise of the idea and practices associated with ‘enterprise’ within the third sectors in Scotland, England and France. In our pilot project exploring the challenges facing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during the current economic crisis and subsequent austerity, we found that the logic of free market relations had penetrated and embedded itself into the rationale and practices of the third sector in these three countries. Principles of competition, the accumulation of assets and the commodification of services and products offered by NGOs had either been imposed onto individual organisations by the local or national state or organisations had actively adopted these ideas in order to survive austerity. Questions remain about what these free market principles embedded within the NGO sector mean for the most marginalised groups in France and the UK—minority women. We suggest that the ability for minority women to articulate and take action on complex social justice claims within the sector is under threat because these claims may well be silenced and/or ignored due to the prevailing enterprise logic of the sector.

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Download CERES Briefing No. 2


Briefing 1

Voices from the British Studies Classroom

Dr. Maria Dasli has written a new briefing paper for CERES which explores the culture learning processes of international students attending a credit-bearing British Studies module in part completion of a foundation/access programme in the UK. It draws on three sets of in-depth student interviews and 15 classroom observations used to triangulate findings to reveal that the module presents partial representations of Britishness through discussion of factual information that neglects the affective dimension of learning. From this, students are seen to construct generalisations about the host culture which the module fails to address despite claims to the development of intercultural competence.

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Download CERES Briefing No. 1