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Ord och inga visor: konstruktioner av förskolebarnet i kunskapsekonomin
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4230-4216
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Use it or lose it : constructions of the preschool child in the knowledge economy (English)
Abstract [en]

Historically, changes in preschool policy have been legitimized in relation to ideas about the preschool child and the various problems that the education of this child is supposed to be able to “solve”. From an early age, children have been considered the most effective tool for dealing with a variety of social, economic or environmental issues of central importance for maintaining and developing society.

Against this background, the purpose of this thesis is to examine representations of the preschool child in different policy texts (textbooks, research- and educational policy) related to changing requirements and targets affecting contemporary Swedish preschools. Discursive constructions of the preschool child are considered as important central aspects, used to legitimize political reforms in accordance with pedagogical ideas and prevailing social contexts. The thesis focuses on the tensions within contemporary constructions of the preschool child in the so-called “knowledge economy”: i.e. the tensions between a competent child, who is both able and willing to take advantage of education, and a “newcomer” – the vulnerable child – in need of obtaining the benefits of education in order to be able to cope with the future.

The simultaneously competent and vulnerable preschool child is thus an efficiently designed target for the interests of economic transnational organizations viewing education mainly in terms of human capital development, as well as an important factor for economic competitiveness.

In the thesis’ final analysis, I study how the OECD, EU and IEA are developing methods for measuring and evaluating the results of preschool education, with the intention of being able to "streamline" it by finding universally successful concepts that are both cost-effective and of high quality. The construction of the preschool child as simultaneously competent and vulnerable is used to legitimize shifts in power over the definition of the Swedish preschool agenda, the fundamental ideas of what preschool is about, what its aims are, and for whom it is intended. As these ideas are disguised as being the result of supposedly "objective" forces far from the ideological contradictions of the political sphere, a critical discussion concerning the goals and aims of early childhood education becomes almost impossible to achieve.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2019. , p. 326
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 354
Keywords [en]
early childhood education, Swedish preschool, educational policy, discourse analysis, childhood subjectivities, discursive displacements, government rationalities
Keywords [sv]
Förskola, utbildning, styrning, diskurs
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-85795Libris ID: z88rrkk8wv27blv8ISBN: 978-91-88898-67-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88898-68-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-85795DiVA, id: diva2:1329400
Public defence
2019-06-19, Myrdal, Växjö, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-24 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Doctoral Thesis (Comprehensive Summary)(5354 kB)181 downloads
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