Research with young children: the use of an affinity group approach to explore the social dynamics of peer culture

Keddie, Amanda (2004) Research with young children: the use of an affinity group approach to explore the social dynamics of peer culture. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25 (1). pp. 35-51. ISSN 0142-5692


This paper describes the research approach of a case study ethnography. The study sought to explore the peer group understandings of five male friends aged between six and eight years. In exploring the social dynamics of peer culture, and in particular how these dynamics interacted to define, regulate and maintain particular understandings of masculinity, the study's research approach drew on Mackay's (1993) affinity group method. This method of grouping people of similar interest and engaging them in discussion aims to promote a sense of group cohesion, which encourages the participants to speak with openness about their ideas, interpretations and feelings (Hickey & Fitzclarence, 2000). The intimate and informal context facilitates the identification of shared and contradicting stories, ideas and understandings through clarifications, negotiations and confirmations. Within a description of the study's methodological framework, this paper outlines how this approach was adopted and modified for young children. The affinity group approach is presented as useful in exploring the social dynamics, relevances, complexities and subtleties of peer culture

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author version not held.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2010 02:39
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2010 07:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: peer pressure in children; ethnology; case studies; age groups; social groups; affinity groups
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160809 Sociology of Education
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930104 Moral and Social Development (incl. Affect)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/0142569032000155926

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