“The Celebrity Thing”: Using Photographs of Celebrities in Child-Centered, Ethnographic Interviews with White Kids about Race

Researching Children and Youth: Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations

ISBN: 978-1-78714-099-8, eISBN: 978-1-78714-098-1

ISSN: 1537-4661

Publication date: 8 March 2017

Abstract

How can researchers develop methods that are both child-centered and grounded in the “epistemology of racial emancipation” given the unique challenges associated with conducting research with young people and white people? The purpose of this chapter is to examine the use of an innovative child-centered visual research method within the context of a larger ethnography focused on how white children come to form ideas about race in America. As part of a broader ethnographic study, white children between the ages of 10 and 13 were presented with photographs of celebrities. Children were asked questions about how to racially classify these popular culture icons, an activity that led to further discussion about race and racism in America. Drawing upon photographs of popular cultural icons and celebrities is one strategy for approaching uncomfortable topics with children in way that is less intimidating and that also brings new data to the study. Children made this aspect of the interview their own, bringing their unique perspectives to bear. This chapter discusses at length unique methodological issues, strategies, and innovations involved in research with white children about race. This chapter makes original contributions to the field of developing innovative, child-centered methods for conducting research with children and youth as well as existing scholarship on whiteness, privilege, and the social reproduction of racial ideology/racism.

Keywords

Citation

Hagerman, M. (2017), "“The Celebrity Thing”: Using Photographs of Celebrities in Child-Centered, Ethnographic Interviews with White Kids about Race", Researching Children and Youth: Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 303-324. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1537-466120180000022014

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited

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