In this chapter, we use a peer language socialization approach to account for how children make use of language and the body as cultural resources in everyday peer language practices for invoking and creatively transforming social boundaries and category memberships in culturally and ethnically diverse communities (Garrett, 2007; Goodwin & Kyratzis, 2014). Based on a large video ethnographic study of multilingual peer group interactions in two urban school settings in Finland and Sweden, we explore in detail the everyday peer group participation of an immigrant girl, Sara, with a Finnish-Swedish-African background (Evaldsson & Sahlström, 2014). In particular, we are interested in how category memberships, evaluative stances and subject positions associated with ethnic otherness become resources for children in multi-ethnic peer group settings to position themselves vis-à-vis others and differentiate themselves from certain groups of children (Evaldsson, 2005; Garciá-Sanchez, 2014; Goodwin, 2006; Goodwin & Alim, 2010). During the last few decades, several researchers have shown that language plays a pivotal role in the articulation of otherness in ethnically diverse communities, wherein the context of social and linguistic hierarchies and hegemonic ideologies, immigrants and other minorities may be marginalized and categorized as out-groups (cf. Garciá-Sanchez, 2014; Goodwin & Alim, 2010, for an overview). Little is known, however, about children’s agency in social practices of “othering” in terms of children’s ability to appropriate and negotiate as well as perpetuate broader cultural frameworks of social and ethnical hierarchies and inequalities in multi-ethnic settings.
Information Age Publishing: IAP Information Age Publishing , 2016. 49-72 p.