Children’s perceptions, reasoning, and experiences of inequality


We (Laura Elenbaas and Rashmita Mistry) suggest a special topic workshop/meeting on children’s perceptions, reasoning, and experiences of inequality. Many forms of inequality affect children’s lives, from economic disparities to racial discrimination to gender biases to notions of nationality and belongingness. Likewise, children actively work to understand the inequalities that they observe and experience. Families and peer groups negotiate inequalities, and their impact can be measured at the level of schools, neighborhoods, and even countries. Further, inequalities may have different effects for infants, children, and adolescents.

In appreciation of our colleagues’ related suggestions regarding marginalization and intersectionality, we highlight that current developmental science on inequality spans family dynamics, peer relations, social cognition, moral development, and education, and includes qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies. In addition to emphasizing different theoretical approaches, we envision devoting part of the meeting to workshops on methodological and measurement considerations.

Reflecting the joint interests of researchers, policy-makers, and the public, this meeting would help inform integrated approaches to understanding children’s perceptions, reasoning, and experiences of inequality.