Imagining The Future: Intergenerational Solidarity, Agency, Trust In Primary School Children's Narratives During The Covid-19 Pandemic In London

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Children in Europe are living through and contributing to unusual times. This statement is particularly apt to describe the experience of children in education. In the last two years, the geography of education has been radically altered. However, the voices of children have been often surrogated by the voices of adults, speaking on behalf of children. By discussing data produced in London schools with children age 9-11, this presentation aims to bring to the fore the voices of children.
The audio-recording of lessons in 2 London schools had been planned as part of an ongoing Horizon2020 project ( to allow a sociological analysis of educational interactions. Audio-recordings took place in December 2020 following 4-weeks closures due to several cases of Covid-19. Before the closure of all schools in the context of a third national lockdown, 20 hours were audio-recorded.
Transcriptions of data, suggested new directions for investigation. Data showed that on return to school in December, teachers were inviting children to share stories of their experiences during the 4-weeks absence. Children’s stories were analytically approached with the instruments offered by narrative analysis, consequently to the idea that narratives were used by children to interpret and present their realities, making sense of events in a situation of generalized uncertainty. The presentation will discuss three themes highlighted by narrative analysis:
1) Solidarity between children and parents, in form of intergenerational collaboration in home schooling and the re-design of domestic spaces and family time;
2) perceptions of pandemic-related health and economic uncertainty and authorship of imagined futures;
3) Changes in the dynamics of intergenerational trust, including display of agency as active participation in the management of family challenges.
Period1 Sept 2021
Event titleEuropean Sociological Association Conference: Imagining the Future
Event typeConference
LocationBarcelona, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational