A RELATIONAL APPROACH ON CHILDREN IN THE CITY: THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC SPACE, NON-PLACES AND EPHEMERAL RELATIONSHIPS FOR LEARNING

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Identity, Agency and Social Institutions in Educational Ethnography

ISBN: 978-0-76231-144-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-297-9

ISSN: 1529-210X

Publication date: 30 December 2004

Abstract

In this article the everyday relationships of children in the context of the contemporary multicultural city will be discussed. It is based on ethnographic research into social relationships of city dwellers in Antwerp, a Flemish city in Belgium, within the framework of the reflection on community life, conflict and public space. In this research several city dwellers were interviewed about their social relationships, a small number of individual city dwellers were followed in their everyday life and participant observation was done in shops and on public transport. The fieldwork on public transport was carried out over a period of eight months. Observations were done on one specific tramline and its stops; drivers were informally interviewed and the researcher took part in the ticket control with inspectors of the public transport company. The fieldwork in the shops consisted of participant observations (not anonymous) for six months in a small shoe shop, a baby shop and a department store with a refreshment bar in it. Next to this in a specific city neighbourhood 30 interviews were done with different city inhabitants about their relationships and contacts and three of them were each followed for two months in their daily activities in and around the city. An elderly woman, a working man and a child were involved. The research unit was not formed by a specific ethnic, socio-economic or age group but by the relationships between different city dwellers. Special attention is given to crosscutting ties, those ties between individuals that run through delineated social groups and geographical boundaries. This article offers only descriptions of everyday relationships of children from the ethnographical research projects described above.

Citation

Soenen, R. (2004), "A RELATIONAL APPROACH ON CHILDREN IN THE CITY: THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC SPACE, NON-PLACES AND EPHEMERAL RELATIONSHIPS FOR LEARNING", Troman, G., Jeffrey, B. and Walford, G. (Ed.) Identity, Agency and Social Institutions in Educational Ethnography (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1529-210X(04)10001-6

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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