This article is concerned with the intersection between national identity, education, and childhood. Its major focus is identity construction as it takes place in public elementary school classrooms. Using ethnographic examples from classroom interactions, the article describes and analyses the processes through which meaning is constructed in the classroom. The ethnographic evidence points to a much more complex socialising process than is often assumed; the process of identity construction reveals ideological contradictions to recognise the multivocal, heteroglossic nature of the social worlds in which children grow up and tensions which ultimately problematise simplistic reproduction theories which fail.
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