pISSN : 1976-1961

Young Children’s Racial-Cultural Identity Negotiation and Development:A Phenomenological Case Study

AUTHOR : Heejeong Sophia Han

INFORMATION : page. 97~120 / 2015 Vol.9 No.2


This article reports on a phenomenological case study following one Korean-American child’s negotiation and development of racial-cultural identity in the United States during the first three years of school. This study aimed to closely explore, understand, and explain the critical incidents experienced by a Korean-American child to recognize and negotiate her racial-cultural identity, and the strategies she used to navigate through the school culture. As a result, four themes were identified with the following metaphors: (a) Just give me a sandwich – Avoiding attention; (b) I must have been a slave – Trying to fit in; (c) It is my cultural water – Speaking up; and (d) I can be both – Reconstructing flexible identities. This study offers a glimpse into a complex nature of a Korean-American child’s racial-cultural identity negotiation and development in the United States calling for an expanded discourse around the issue, and sheds a light on what roles teachers and parents can play to collaboratively address and scaffold the experiences.

Keyword :

young children,Asian-American,racial-cultural identity,case study

Theoretical Background



Discussion and Implications


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