Research with Young Children: The Use of an Affinity Group Approach to Explore the Social Dynamics of Peer Culture
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 Mackay H (1993) Reinventing Australia (Pymble, Angus & Robertson) [Google Scholar] ) 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 Hickey C Fitzclarence L (2000) If you listen you will hear: building relationships using ‘conversational flow’ in: J. McLeod & K. Malone (eds) Representing youth (Melbourne, Australian Clearinghouse on Youth Studies) 121 134 [Google Scholar] ). 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.
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Sociology not elsewhere classified