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Title: A critical analysis of contemporary early childhood policies : the experience of the 'Cuna Mas' National Programme
Author: Portugal, Andrea
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 2729
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is concerned with exploring why and how early childhood development becomes an object of policy. More specifically, it sets out to explore the couplings of knowledge and power and how these productive encounters materialize in discourses, practices and subjectivities that create the conditions for the governing of children and parents. A Foucauldian theoretical framework informed by postcolonial ideas is drawn on to question dominant understandings about young children, their development and the related production of policy knowledge. Based on a documentary analysis of policy texts of two multilateral organizations, it argues that specific evidence and research are used to construct early childhood development as foundational, malleable and profitable, and to prescribe a particular version of the 'normal' child and the 'good' parent. At the same time, it describes how data and statistics are strategically deployed to demonstrate the existence of a 'problem', which works to position less privileged children and their families as 'delayed', 'unable', and in 'need'. An investment narrative is identified as providing an economic rationale for government intervention in early childhood development that reinforces an understanding of children as potential human capital. Drawing on Ball's methodological and analytical 'toolbox', the thesis traces how global narratives are reproduced, interpreted and refused at a particular national setting, while at the same time offering an insider's perspective of how policies are shaped, produced, enacted, and, importantly, with what effects. A critical auto-ethnography is used to reconstruct and examine the different contexts of influence, policy text production, practice and outcomes. The thesis examines these contexts in a particular site of policy experience: the national programme 'Cuna Mas' in Peru. It considers the effects of globalisation and the role of context and agency in forming, framing and limiting the production and enactment of state national policies, arguing that despite being informed by the globalised policy discourses, there is evidence of active adaptation and recontextualisation by local staff.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available