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Applying the “New” Sociology of Childhood to Explain the Black–White Test-Score Gap

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children

ISBN: 978-1-78052-074-2, eISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

ISSN: 1537-4661

Publication date: 5 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter draws on tenets of the “new” sociology of childhood, which posit that children are affected by social structures in the same way that adults are, to formulate an explanation for the black–white test-score gap.

Methodology – It builds on an analysis of ethnographic fieldnotes, which recorded the experiences of early elementary school students in a racially homogeneous school in a low-income African-American neighborhood.

Findings – The case is made that the children were oppressed by adults in the school. Being in school was almost a wholly negative experience for children. Students' active strategies to protect the self were ineffective, which led to their shutting down emotionally. Like adults in similar social contexts, children's energy was devoted to self-protection rather than to being a student.

Keywords

Citation

Matthews, S.H. (2011), "Applying the “New” Sociology of Childhood to Explain the Black–White Test-Score Gap", Bass, L.E. and Kinney, D.A. (Ed.) The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 181-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1537-4661(2011)0000014013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited