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Title: Governmentality and professional/familial relationships : a Foucauldian study of the dispositif of education and care for Scottish children aged one to two years
Author: Paton, Grace
Awarding Body: University of the West of Scotland
Current Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Date of Award: 2013
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The research aimed to explore the role of professionals and family members who support the education and care experience of Scottish children aged one to two years who are considered to be ‘at risk’ in Scottish Government early intervention policy statements. It employed a feminist poststructuralist paradigm based on the Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and subjectification and a genealogical approach to literature review. The small-scale ethnographic case study was set in the Baby Room of a Scottish early childhood education and care (ECEC) centre where these children were allocated funded places. Ten children were placed in the role of ‘boundary objects’ and data collection focused on human and non-human elements of the dispositif of the nursery placement and its impact on each child’s experience. Methods associated with multi-sited ethnography were employed. These included semi-structured interviews with associated professionals and family members and observation of practice in the Baby Room. In addition, content analysis of cultural objects, including guidance documents, artefacts and the architecture of the setting, allowed exploration of non-human actants. In analysis of data, situational analysis and the listening tool were utilised as complementary tools. Findings indicated that the discursive practices recommended in official practice advice varied within and across government documents. Ways of parenting and of practising early childhood education and care professionally were individualistic and situated, often resisting government promoted discourses. It was concluded that the Scottish Government tactic of provision of a funded place for ‘at risk’ Scottish toddlers was unlikely to be successful in achieving its totalising and individualising aims. The tactic allowed society to benefit at the expense of women. Low levels of investment and a focus on measurable outcomes impacted on the nature of service provision and pedagogical approach, with ‘normalcy’ valued over care and relational working. The study concluded by suggesting that the Scottish Government might consider investment in universal, more democratic ECEC provision and in the development of professional education to take account of EU conceptualisation of competence, thus avoiding the marginalisation of women.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available