Measuring Collective Identities in Studying Inequality in Schools

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:20
Oral Presentation
Peter STEVENS, University of Ghent, Belgium
Research in sociology of education focuses increasingly more on collective (ethnic) identities as key socio-psychological characteristics that mediate the relationship between structural and cultural school features and educational and wider outcomes with young people and their teachers in school. This presentation explores how qualitative and quantitative techniques are used to measure collective (ethnic) identities and, particularly, how a mixed methods approach can result in the development of more valid measures of collective (ethnic) identities. First, key theoretical properties of collective identities are highlighted and linked to specific measurement tools used in the literature. Afterwards, the usefulness of a specific mixed methods approach is illustrated by drawing on a study on the relationship between national collective identities and ethnic prejudice in the context of Cyprus. This study illustrates how qualitative, more inductive forms of data analysis can help to identify which features of collective identities (and ethnic out-groups) are important in a particular socio-political context. It then shows how quantitative research can build on this by developing measurement tools that consider which properties are meaningful in a specific context, as this results in the development of statistical models that are more valid in testing specific hypotheses about the influence of collective identities on particular outcomes (ethnic prejudice).