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How children and their parents reason about inequalities and exclusion based on socioeconomic status: The roles of children's age, family socioeconomic background and exclusion context

Gönül, Buse
The aim of this dissertation was to examine children’s and their parents’ reasoning about inequalities and exclusion based on socioeconomic status (SES). By adopting a mixed-methods approach, one qualitative and one quantitative study was conducted. In the qualitative study, thirty-three parent-child dyads (seventeen from low socioeconomic background) were interviewed separately. Findings of the thematic analyses showed that access to economic and social resources was perceived as important factors shaping both children’s and their parents’ perspectives about relationships and educational opportunities, even when not asked explicitly. Both children and their parents shared many boundary conditions, which would affect their willingness to contact with others from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In the quantitative study, the roles of children’s age, family SES and context on children’s and their parents’ reasoning about socioeconomic exclusion were investigated. In total, 270 parent-child dyads from low and high socioeconomic backgrounds attended this study. Despite the great emphasis of socioeconomic exclusion as a form of discrimination and a moral violation, study variables affected participants’ judgments. Particularly, older children and children from low SES approached socioeconomic exclusion as less tolerable, and they had a more complex understanding of the consequences of such discriminations. Children from affluent families approached this type of exclusion more in terms of protecting status-quo. For parents’ reasoning, the most influential factor was exclusion context such that exclusion in peer context was condoned more compared to educational discrimination. Novel findings of the current study are considered valuable both for the related literature and for its practical applications.