9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Everyday Life in Day-Care and After School Care Building II, C6.01

Reconceptualising Children's Empowerment in Early Years Daycare Provision: A Comparative Analysis

Whilst there has been less focus in childhood studies on early years (3-5 years) compared with older children, there is also growing policy/research awareness that children?s early years experiences may have profound consequences in terms of later power resources (including action patterns, understandings of the world). This paper outlines a proposed European research project focusing on empowerment of children in day care institutions in 4 strategically-chosen countries: Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, UK. The study explores children?s situation in terms of gender, ethnicity, class within an intersectional/foucauldian/ postmodern feminist/post-colonial perspective where age relations between adults and children represent a pivotal power dimension. The empirical focus is on how policy documentation, parents, practitioners and children define empowerment regarding children in day care institutions rather than on our own definition(s). Centrally, we focus on how children come to understand themselves and one another as gendered/classed/'raced' and aged subjects. Thus, we can interrogate the dissonance and or/overlap with adult constructions of 'the empowered child' - what that looks like and how adults facilitate or (wittingly or unwittingly) compromise children's sense of empowerment within specific contexts. Finally, and more broadly, this study will also contribute to more nuanced models for understanding comparative welfare formations.