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The social and competent child as co-produced by nonhuman actors
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
(English)In: Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, ISSN 1463-9491, E-ISSN 1463-9491Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

In this article I argue that competent children at all times are co-produced by nonhuman matter. Drawing on a relational materialist perspective I discuss how not only humans but also nonhumans can articulate propositions and partake in an ongoing choreography of the world. I will present a piece of pedagogical documentation of children involved in an investigative project and suggest an analysis of this pedagogical documentation that  takes into consideration how the children are situated in a messy material world or, as Andrew Pickering (1995) puts it; in “a mangle” where heterogeneous actors make agency and action possible. This entails a troubling of a social constructionist perspective that seldom considers the agency of the nonhuman (Prout 2005). However, as I discuss, a relational materialist perspective can also be understood as an intensification of social constructionism, in that that not only humans, but also nonhumans participates as negotiating actors in the ongoing construction of reality.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63412OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-63412DiVA: diva2:448761
Projects
Förskolan som jämställdhetspolitisk arena 1970-2008
Available from: 2011-10-18 Created: 2011-10-18 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Barn, linjaler och andra aktörer: Posthumanistiska perspektiv på subjektskapande och materialitet i förskola/skola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Barn, linjaler och andra aktörer: Posthumanistiska perspektiv på subjektskapande och materialitet i förskola/skola
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Children, rulers and other actors : Posthumanist perspectives on subjectivity and materiality in pre-school and school
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the interaction between nonhuman materiality and the construction of subjectivity in pedagogical practices. The starting point is that children are constantly engaged in significant relations, not only to other humans but also to nonhuman matter, and that nonhuman materiality such as pedagogical material, toys and furniture partake and play an important role in the construction of children’s subjectivities. However, most theories that are being used in educational research with a focus on subjectivity take on a notion that renders nonhuman materiality as passive, and as firmly subordinated humans or language. In order to take into account how nonhuman materiality can be understood as a constitutive force I turn to and investigate a posthumanist perspective that conceptualize agency and performative qualities as a property, not only of humans but also of nonhuman materiality (Barad 1997; Bennett 2004, 2005, 2007; Pickering 1995, 2005). Among the different theoretical frameworks and concepts available that shares these understandings I especially focus on concepts developed in actor- network theory (Callon 1986; Latour 1992; 1999a, 1999b, 2005; Law 2002, 2004). In four research articles I put these concepts to work in relation to pieces of empirical data from pedagogical practices in order to investigate how subjectivity is constituted by the interplay between humans and nonhumans. From these four articles I conclude that a posthumanist perspective in which the  world is conceptualized as constitutive and performative can intensify and broaden the insights made from post structural and social constructionist perspectives, which have focused on language as a constitutive force. I further discuss how a posthumanist perspective gives way to an understanding of children’s relations to nonhumans in terms of communication, mutual transformations and translations that changes both humans and nonhumans.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University, 2011. 89 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 10
Keyword
subjectivity, nonhuman materiality, posthumanism, actor-network theory, posthuman performativity, pedagogical practices
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63413 (URN)978-91-7447-392-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-18, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Förskolan som jämställdhetspolitisk arena 1970-2008
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted. Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2011-10-27 Created: 2011-10-18 Last updated: 2015-10-20Bibliographically approved

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