Abraham, Matthew

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
A Multi-Modal, Multi-Sited Ethnography: young children and religion in three different local communities
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Peter Hemming and Prof. Bella Dicks
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

How does the religious character of the local community influence children’s understanding and experiences of friendship, relationship cultures and education, both in terms of a formal learning/curriculum and the informal processes related to social values and sense of citizenship.


  • To investigate the extent to which religion mediates children’s relationship cultures in school, out of school and online
  • To understand the schools’ involvement with their wider local communities

The aims and objectives of this research proposal have emerged from previous research findings at Master’s level (SSRM) where, in a predominantly Muslim primary school population, I found that children were heavily regulated by the religious priorities expressed by their parents. The discourses of broader social and cultural contexts shaped and constructed the family’s engagement with the schooling process. This compromises the freedom with which the teachers can deliver the entire range of National Curriculum targets. Further, it provides the basis for a further investigation of how children understand and experience the development of religion and citizenship aspects of their schooling particularly as it relates to relationships with i) their parents ii) their teachers iii) their fellow pupils through friendship associations.

This study will draw upon a range of research methodologies to develop child-centred approaches that provide children with a space to contribute and engage with the research (Davies, 2003; Epstein, 1993). A range of digitally based methods of data gathering and enquiry will be incorporated into a broader multimodal research project (Dicks et al. 2011).