‘Window onto the world’ or ‘distorted lens’? The role of animated movies in shaping children’s social perception.

Project Details


Children as young as kindergarten already demonstrate a remarkable
capacity for perceiving and judging differences in ‘social status’.
Between the ages of 4 to 12, this capacity develops considerably,
and by the time that children enter high school their judgments of
‘class’ already start to closely mirror those of adults. The fact that
children demonstrate this early ability to judge persons and objects in
terms of their social status and do so on the basis of a limited
experience with the adult world of work, career, and status raises a
simple, yet quite fundamental question: where do children acquire
their knowledge of status-differences, class-hierarchy, and social
inequality? This study aims to find an answer to this question by
focusing on a cultural genre that has become increasingly prominent
in shaping the lifeworld of children, namely animated movies. It has a
twofold research objective. Firstly, it will aim to analyze the specific
ways in which this cultural genre represents differences in social
status and class position through a detailed content analysis of thirty
of the most popular animated movies. Secondly, it will study how
children themselves in turn interpret these representations and use
them to construct their understanding of the adult world of class and
status through a series of semi-structured interviews with 150
children using a specifically developed method of video-elicitation.
Effective start/end date1/11/219/02/23


  • Animated movies
  • Social class
  • Children’s social perception

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Social perception and cognition
  • Cultural sociology
  • Sociology of social class
  • Socialisation
  • Sociology of child, adolescence and youth


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