Making Communion

Making Communion: Disappearing and Emerging Forms of Childhood in Ireland's Schools, Homes and Communities

Funder: Irish Research Council Collaborative Projects Scheme

Project Team: Dr. Karl Kitching (PI), Dr. Yafa Shanneik

Duration: October 2012 - September 2013

The study uses Catholic First Holy Communion as a key symbol of what are/were considered ‘routinely Irish’ childhoods. ‘Communion’ is a starting point to examine the diversities of children’s and adults’ lives in relation to:

  • Primary school ‘choice’
  • The expression of religious, non-religious and secular world views through state-funded education
  • Children’s societal participation practices (religion, ethics, education and consumption)
  • Gendered, classed and racialised representations of childhood in school localities and print and online media

The project will primarily use child participatory and ‘adult’ oral history research methods to generate contemporary and historical accounts of childhoods in three school-community settings. The aim of the project is to contribute a set of concepts to describe the complexity of Irish childhoods as they relate to educational and social provision in Ireland. The key focus is on children's positioning within education politics and processes of inclusion and exclusion historically and contemporarily.

The project is a collaboration between the School of Education and ISS21.

 For further details, contact Dr. Karl Kitching (

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30