London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Investigating the Representations of Social Differences in the Function of Family Socialization

Author(s) Szabó, B.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
Recent theories argue that beside the individual cognitive development the socio-cultural context plays a significant role in determining the content of children’s representations. The following study examines the effects of various social contexts through children’s representation about social differences in the Hungarian society. We compared nearly a hundred primary school students’ (N=91) conceptions about wealth and poverty who live in families with different socio-economical status and the conceptions of children in State Custody (N=37) who live in children’s homes. Children were aged between 9 and 11 years. Based upon the children’s drawings and structural interviews, we compared the two groups’ representations along several indices (i.e. external, internal and social features of wealthy and poor figures as well as the attributions of these social conditions). We supposed that the impact on the different social contexts (family and children’s homes) can be detected through various forms of representations of poverty and wealth among these children. Results indicate that the representations of foster children differ along several domains from the control group. We found particular patterns in the degree of reality connected to the positions, and in the tendency of the attributions. The findings show the dominant effect of social context alongside the characteristic of age. Key words: foster children, social cognition, socio-economic status, attribution of wealth, attribution of poverty

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