Childhood studies' research, particularly in the UK, has tended to highlight children's agency, with the interest in showing children as ‘independent social actors’ and as ‘beings in their own right’. Recently, childhood studies have been ‘troubling’ the notion of agency for undervaluing interdependencies. Children's peer relations, friendships and social identities form an important domain, where children's agency and complex interdependencies can be explored. This paper draws on ethnographic research in Scottish early childhood settings, to discuss how children draw upon similarities and differences between themselves – particularly in relation to age/competence, gender and ethnicity – as they negotiate friendship groupings.
- social identities
- peer relations