This book is based on a study which investigates the developing conceptualization of twenty-four first, third, and fifth-grade New York Puerto Rican children of their own cultural group. Unique to the study is the notion that children are developing a conceptualization of a cultural group and that this conceptualization begins quite early, within the first decade of life. While the study focuses on one group, it raises the probability that the immigrant children of other cultural groups are also developing a conceptualization of their group as they reconcile two primary, but different cultures. The study may stimulate similar studies with children of other cultural groups as they immigrate to a new country.
The twenty-four children were individually asked to respond to interview questions aimed at eliciting their conceptualization of "Puerto Ricaness". Given the young age of the children, oral questions were often supported with manipulatives including miniature dolls and photographs representing different cultural groups, marker and paper for drawing.
The study focused on nineteen domains and their content which emerge as relevant organizers of children thinking about their cultural group: twelve domains relevant to Puerto Rican people, six domains relevant to the country of Puerto Rico, and one domain relevant to the dual life of Puerto Ricans as they live in the United States while maintaining physical and/or psychological contact with Puerto Rico.
Analysis of the data was organized around patterns in the children's responses related to frequency of reference to each of the nineteen domains (Global Conceptualization, Differentiated Conceptualization, Integrated Conceptualization, and Hierarchically Integrated Conceptualization), and emerging themes in the children's conceptualization.