The Interplay of Children's and Parents' Networks in Shaping Each Other's Social Worlds

Research question/goal: 

As our social worlds remain divided by categories such as ethnicity, religion, and social class, attenuating social boundaries is paramount to creating equal opportunities and building cohesive societies. Segregated networks mark boundaries from childhood on and persist through adolescence and beyond. Research stresses parents’ influence on children’s contacts, but it largely neglects that children also influence their parents’ contacts. If we do not account for the interplay of children’s and parents’ networks, we may draw wrong conclusions about how segregation emerges and under which conditions it persists or diminishes. Since younger generations are ethnically and religiously more diverse, we must understand whether children adopt their parents’ network structures or whether diversity in children’s social lives also diversifies the social worlds of their parents.

This project aims to advance our knowledge of mutual intergenerational boundary-making by developing and testing a theory of how child–parent networks co-evolve over time in educational settings with varying degrees of diversity. It will collect an innovative panel dataset of children’s and parents’ networks for multiple cohorts from kindergarten to secondary school. These unique data will allow us to rigorously examine how the interplay of children’s and parents’ networks affects boundaries in each other’s social worlds and how this varies by children’s age and diversity in educational settings.

Fact sheet

2023 to 2028
continued elsewhere
Data Sources: 
Primary Data Collection, Panel Cohorts
Geographic Space: