Global Studies of Childhood
ISSN 2043-6106


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Volume 2 Number 4 2012

Archive

CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

Sue Saltmarsh & Nicola Yelland. Editorial, pages 245–246  http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.245 VIEW FULL TEXT OPEN ACCESS

Zsuzsa Millei. ‘Community’ and ‘Democratic Practice’ in Early Childhood Education and Care: a critique and possibility through the optic of Roberto Esposito, pages 247–259

Deborah Harcourt. Measuring Teacher Quality: listening to young children in Singapore, pages 260–275

Ailie Cleghorn & Larry Prochner. Looking into Early Childhood Education and Development Spaces: visual ethnography’s contribution to thinking about quality, pages 276–285

Nicola Yelland, Sandy Muspratt, Chan Yee On, Christine & Caja Gilbert. Asian Childhoods: exploring the lifeworlds of students in contemporary Hong Kong, pages 286–301

Jenny Barr, Marian de Souza, Cathie Harrison, Brendan Hyde, Helen van Vliet & Sue Saltmarsh. Parenting the ‘Millennium Child’: choice, responsibility and playing it safe in uncertain times, pages 302–318

Margaret Stuart. Managing Mothers to Build Their Child’s Worth: the economic positioning of the maternal role, pages 319–330

Tonya Rooney. Childhood Spaces in a Changing World: exploring the intersection between children and new surveillance technologies, pages 331–342



‘Community’ and ‘Democratic Practice’ in Early Childhood Education and Care: a critique and possibility through the optic of Roberto Esposito

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.247

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‘Community’ is a pervasive concept around the globe in early childhood education and care that remains mostly unchallenged. The notion of ‘community’ is widely utilised in theories and practices to describe the context and the social world of young children and their carers and educators. It is also a familiar term used in relation to curriculum and pedagogical frameworks and practices. Another concept that appears increasingly in the literature and in practical considerations is the possibility for early childhood settings to be places of ‘democratic practice’. Democratic practice is hoped to prevent autocracy, to ensure pluralism and cater for diversity, and to enable collaborative knowledge production. However, community and ‘democratic practice’ are not without contention. This article considers the nexus and the contention between concepts of ‘community’ and ‘democratic practice’. With Roberto Esposito’s notion of communitas, it offers a possible theorisation of community that enables community to serve as a backdrop to ‘democratic political practice’ in early childhood education and care.

Measuring Teacher Quality: listening to young children in Singapore

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.260

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Early childhood research and policy are focusing increasingly on issues of ‘quality’ in early childhood education. Much of the focus, however, has been on adult-generated notions of quality, with little attention being devoted to children’s own views of their experience in early childhood settings. Conducted in the context of early childhood education in Singapore, this research seeks to contribute children’s own insights into their experience in two early childhood classrooms in Singapore. Informed by the sociology of childhood conceptualisation of child competence, the research methodology draws upon contemporary approaches to researching with children. The findings of this study were generated by beginning with the understanding that young children have the competence to articulate their ideas using a range of symbolic literacies. They formed views and constructed theories about their preschool experiences, in particular about teachers, and give a clear indication of what constitutes good quality in this domain. This study calls for those engaged with children, particularly teachers, to act upon the contributions offered by this group of children to the understanding of quality.

Looking into Early Childhood Education and Development Spaces: visual ethnography’s contribution to thinking about quality

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.276

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Discussions about what constitutes a quality early childhood (EC) environment rarely focus on visual or spatial aspects, except to provide background information for talking about EC practice and children’s development in the preschool years. There is a need to look beyond the usual quality indicators, which tend to focus on poverty and children’s developmental potential so that context and cultural dimensions are often omitted in the discussion. This article thus explores the contribution of visual ethnography for thinking more about, or rethinking, some of the prevailing notions of quality in early childhood education (ECE). To do so, culture is seen as central to the discussion. This includes the organisation of space and the use of materials in EC settings. The idea in this article is to present images that stand in contrast to some of the current globalising discourse about what is good for the world’s children. In so doing, the authors thread together seemingly disparate ideas stemming from the centrality of culture and space theory, to the organisation of space, to the use of materials and to transitions in ECE.

 

Asian Childhoods: exploring the lifeworlds of students in contemporary Hong Kong

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.286

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In this article, the authors discuss the findings of two surveys that were conducted with 10-year-old primary students and their parents in Hong Kong. They sought to gather empirical data about how the students spend their time in out-of-school contexts in order to interrogate the view that Asian students often spend much of their time studying, with little leisure time. The authors were concerned that there was an absence of empirical data on this topic. Increasingly, there is a recognition that Asian students perform well in high-stakes international tests, and a widely held view is that this is because they dedicate so much time to intensive academic study in contrast to their ‘Western’ counterparts. The social and cultural capital derived from doing well in school systems is an established feature of many global contexts. In the competitive environment that characterises education in Hong Kong, progression through the system is based solely on examination scores, and justified on the basis that this is both equitable and allows the best students to thrive. Tutorial schools that train attendees in the art of testing are multimillion-dollar industries – but who are the clients? In this article, the authors reveal that at 10 years of age, the out-of-school lives of the students surveyed contain many and varied activities. They attend school and, in out-of-school contexts, complete homework, participate in activities that both incorporate new media (for example, television and computers) and others (for example, indoor and outdoor play), and do not.

 

Parenting the ‘Millennium Child’: choice, responsibility and playing it safe in uncertain times

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.302

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This article considers a range of issues confronting parents of children growing up in the new millennium. The authors frame their discussion with concerns raised by scholars in a diverse range of fields that notions of risk, uncertainty and anxiety play a critical role in what parents today understand as comprising their parental responsibilities. A review of literature in the areas of education, media and technology, health and well-being, and family and work leads the authors to argue that parenting in the new millennium is broadly constituted within normalising discourses of consumer choice, individual responsibility and risk management strategies that combine innovation, entrepreneurialism and embracing challenges, on the one hand, with ‘playing it safe’ and protecting perceived childhood vulnerabilities, on the other. Here, the authors read the persistence in the media and popular culture of nostalgic appeals to childhood innocence as being under intensified threat as a technique of governmentality, through which a population governs itself. However, the authors also consider how the research literature highlights complexities and ambiguities associated with rapid technological and social changes, and the impact of these on contemporary parenting practices. The authors conclude that the seeming discursive dichotomies of parenting that embraces and confronts change, while simultaneously preventing and ameliorating risks both real and imagined, make parenting the ‘millennium child’ a complicated and contradictory task.

 

Managing Mothers to Build Their Child’s Worth: the economic positioning of the maternal role

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.319

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Using discursive analysis, the author uncovers the societal interest over the past century related to the body and mind of the child. Using the concept of ‘biopolitics’ – of national risk management to the body politic – the author plots some changes in Western states’ interests in the mother and child dyad. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the author argues, a eugenics discourse constructed maternal health as an issue of national hygiene. Over the twentieth century, the position of mothers has been reduced, their role increasingly viewed as necessary to the workforce and their children seen as needing ‘education’. Today, there is interest, with the support of ‘qualified’ early childhood teachers, in managing the mother–child relationship to build children’s neurological and social skills in order for them to be able to contribute as future workers to the economic wealth of the state.

 

Childhood Spaces in a Changing World: exploring the intersection between children and new surveillance technologies

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/gsch.2012.2.4.331

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Children are at the forefront of the rapidly changing technological landscape, living in a world where both physical and virtual spaces are an intertwined part of daily experience. As an example of a child’s changing relationship with new technologies, this article explores the increasing presence of surveillance technologies in the day-to-day spaces children inhabit. It suggests that childhood experience needs to be understood in the context of fluid and interdependent relations with others and the worlds around them, including their relationships with new technologies in the surrounding environment. At the same time, it is important to retain a view of the child that is more complex than what is simply gleaned through their relationship with new technologies, even as this becomes a prominent mode of interaction with others and the world around them.

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