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ERIC Number: EJ1203944
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
A Bourdieusian Perspective on Child Agency in Family Language Policy
Revis, Melanie
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v22 n2 p177-191 2019
This paper investigates child agency in Ethiopian and Colombian refugee families in New Zealand. Emerging scholarship has highlighted ways in which children's actions may influence family language policies. However, the existing descriptions are typically not embedded in a wider social theory, and have generally not included refugees. This study draws on 3 years of ethnographic observations, interviews with 29 mothers and 17 children and recordings of naturally occurring home interactions from three families. The families were part of a governmental programme for the resettlement of refugees. Data from both ethnic communities indicate that children influence their parents' socialisation practices through (1) metalinguistic comments, (2) medium requests, (3) language brokering, (4) sociocultural socialisation and (5) majority language teaching. As a theoretical contribution, I argue that child agency is most fruitfully interpreted theoretically within a Bourdieusian framework of structure and agency. At a more micro-level, the notion of 'cleft-habitus' supplies a useful tool to discuss the effects of the children's divergent cultural socialisation. From a practical perspective, targeting children along with parents may be beneficial for promoting language maintenance efforts.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand; Ethiopia; Colombia