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Challenging Age Power Structures: Creating a Public Sphere in Preschool through Musicking
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9007-8332
2016 (English)In: Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, ISSN 1545-4517, Vol. 15, no 5, 25-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the possibility of conceiving preschool music activities as a way of forming spaces of participation with society’s youngest. The discussion draws on Hannah Arendt’s (1958) definition of public spheres, and the argumentation is closely linked to an empirical example from musicking events with 1–3 year olds in a non-typical, arts-focused Swedish preschool. In their promotion of equality and plurality in this preschool, the children and the music pedagogues co-construct a public sphere by using a multitude of “languages” and challenge both the hegemonic position of verbal language and other age power structures. In this promotion, other “subjects of music” come into being. Thus, it is argued that society can perceive children as legitimized citizens in the “here and now” and not only in a distant future when they have become fully educated adults. The article challenges current preschool music education and demonstrates alternative social constructions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 15, no 5, 25-50 p.
Keyword [en]
Early childhood music education, citizenship, Hannah Arendt, age power structure, very young children
National Category
Music Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Subject Learning and Teaching
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134133DOI: 10.22176/act15.5.25OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-134133DiVA: diva2:1033628
Available from: 2016-10-07 Created: 2016-10-03 Last updated: 2016-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards Musicking in a Public Sphere: 1-3 year olds and music pedagogues negotiating a music didactic identity in a Swedish preschool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Musicking in a Public Sphere: 1-3 year olds and music pedagogues negotiating a music didactic identity in a Swedish preschool
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores alternative ways of staging music in preschool. The ‘preschool subject of music’ is approached as a social and cultural construct that is embedded in discursive negotiations. Participants in the study are 1-3 year-old children and their music pedagogues, working in the preschool on a daily basis. In three studies, the negotiation of a local music ‘didactic identity’ is examined by answering research questions related to three different discursive levels: (i) the micro-level of face-to-face interaction; (ii) the level of pedagogue’s conceptions; and (iii) the political/societal level. Study I examines the participants’ use of semiotic resources in their co-construction of musicking events. By means of micro-analyses of video-recordings it is shown that mobility in the room is essential for the children’s access to instruments and other artefacts, and for their possibility to influence music activities. Other crucial conditions concern the pedagogues’ responsive uptake and improvisatory approach, and that the activities are open to other forms of expression. Study II explores conceptions of the ‘child’ and conceptions of ‘music’ in four music pedagogues’ talk in a group interview. Different conceptions of the ‘child’ are seen to interrelate with certain ontological and functional conceptions of ‘music’ that involve diverse opportunities for children’s (bodily) agency. This analysis is made by means of discursive psychology. Study III examines the music practices from a political and philosophical perspective, using Hannah Arendt’s concept of the ‘public sphere’. This third perspective shows how this preschool’s music practices create a public sphere by seriously putting into practice equality and plurality as values and principles that increase the equality between children and adults. Age power structures are thereby challenged, and the children can be seen as citizens in the ‘here and now’, and not in some distant future when they are grown-ups. Also, the ‘preschool subject of music’ itself becomes a negotiated issue.

Implications for preschool practice and preschool teacher education are discussed, and further research is suggested within other educational areas regarding how pedagogues’ interpretations of the concept of ‘children’s participation’ and ‘influence’ impact on specific preschool subjects, such as music.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education, Stockholm University, 2016. 144 p.
Keyword
Music education, musicking, early childhood education, preschool, age power structures, very young children, subject specific didactics, public sphere, Hannah Arendt, cultural studies
National Category
Music Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Subject Learning and Teaching
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134142 (URN)978-91-7649-517-9 (ISBN)978-91-7649-518-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-25, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press.

Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-10-03 Last updated: 2017-04-18Bibliographically approved

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