British ethnic minority children’s meaning-making of transnational belonging/s in the primary school

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This paper explores minority children’s understandings of transnationalism through lived experience or family stories of migration. The paper is based on a study in a multicultural primary school, with children aged 6–7 and 10–11. The primary objective of the research was to explore children’s identity work around reading at school, and the role of the everyday practice of reading. The research utilized participative methods in the form of visual research, and qualitative interviews in order to promote pupil voice. The children read multicultural picture books depicting different localities, and these acted as a springboard for eliciting conversations about sense of place. A main outcome of the research was to gain a clearer understanding of the significance of identifying as Muslim for many children. Children found a sense of togetherness in their Muslim identity through sharing prayer practices and learning Arabic. The conclusions concern the significance of such multi-placed senses of belonging for children’s formations of their subjectivities, and the implications of this for both transnationalism, but also for social work. Future research on children’s identity work and how their voices and opinions are produced in research, as well as their conceptions of the nation state would warrant further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalTransnational Social Review: a Social Work Journal
Issue number2
Early online date8 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • identity work
  • Muslim
  • migration
  • transnationalism
  • minority children
  • RCUK
  • ES/ J500148/1
  • ESRC


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