Learning about inequality from kids: Interviewing strategies for getting beneath equality rhetoric

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

Sociological studies of children and youth


There are three main analytic challenges to studying kids, especially where the core focus is inequality: (1) minimizing the power imbalance between adults/researchers and kids/participants, (2) attending to the active and imaginative communication styles of young people, and (3) getting beneath the superficial rhetoric of meritocracy, colorblindness, and post-feminism. In this chapter, we draw from our own qualitative insights when studying middle school kids (grades 6-8, ages 11-14) in providing a systematic analysis of the effectiveness of distinct visual strategies and their respective strengths and limitations for producing rich, useful, and specific data. The insights gleaned are applicable to analyses of kids, understandings of inequality, and even methodological training.