There is now a colossal research literature on the development of racial prejudice among young children (for overviews see Milner 1983; Aboud 1988). Studies first pioneered in the 1920s and 1930s and repeated in a variety of formats since then have consistently shown that children have the capacity to recognise racial differences and to develop negative attitudes and prejudices towards certain groups from the age of three onwards. While this body of work has undoubtedly played an important role in highlighting the reality of racism in the lives of young children, it has attracted a significant amount of criticism over recent years most notably from a number of social psychologists (Billig 1985, 1987; Reicher 1986; Potter and Weatherall 1987; Condor 1988) and, more recently, sociologists (Troyna and Hatcher 1992; Connolly 1996, 2001; Van Ausdale and Feagin 1996, 2001). A central focus of the criticism has been the dominance of structured, experimental designs within the research to date and their tendency to encourage rather crude and simplistic understandings of the nature and influence of ‘race’ in young children’s lives.