Children's perceptions of national identity in Wales

Alison Murphy, Janet Laugharne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The project forms part of a larger doctoral study which examines children's perceptions of national identity and its construction and importance in the world of the child in Wales. The research took place in a primary school class in the South Wales valleys, in a class of 27 children aged 7–8 years. Following an introductory activity, children drew a picture of a ‘Welsh person’. They were then interviewed with their artwork about their ideas of national identity in Wales. The initial findings revealed that the young children in this study, contrary to cognitive development theory (Piaget, J., and A.M. Weil. 1951. The development in children of the idea of the homeland and relations to other countries. International Social Science Journal 3: 561–578; Aboud, F., and M. Amato. 2001. Developmental and socialization influences on intergroup bias. In Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Intergroup processes, ed. R. Brown and A. Gaertner, 65–85. Oxford: Blackwell), had a complex and well-developed view of their own national identity. The children were able to consider in some depth, what characterises their concept of the national identity. Children categorised themselves using a range of parameters such as place of birth, parental nationality and current and previous residences. These findings contribute to previous studies in the Welsh context, which have been conducted with older children. The largest self-categorisation group was Welsh but a further interesting factor was that there were more children who categorised themselves as English rather than British.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-201
JournalEducation 3-13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • national identity
  • Wales
  • children


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