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  • 1.
    Wassrin, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.
    Challenging Age Power Structures: Creating a Public Sphere in Preschool through Musicking2016In: Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, ISSN 1545-4517, Vol. 15, no 5, p. 25-50Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 2.
    Wassrin, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.
    Rethinking Music Activities in Preschool: Exploring links between conceptions of the child and conceptions of music2016In: Nordisk musikkpedagogisk forskning: Årbok, ISSN 1504-5021, Vol. 17, p. 103-136Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Music in preschool is mostly performed as singing-events in the form of circle-time, over which children do not have much influence. This article argues that research on music education in preschool often has overlooked this lack of influence. It explores how conceptions of ‘the child’ relate to different conceptions of music, and thereby impact on how music activities are staged in preschool. The primary empirical material consists of one group interview with four music pedagogues working together with 1–3 year olds in a Swedish preschool with an alternative approach. Through the use of Critical Discursive Psychology five interpretative repertoires of ‘the child’ are distinguished, among which ‘a child with rights’ is seen as encompassing the other four. Conceptions of the child as constantly learning and epistemologically equal to adults, and therefore granted the rights to explore the world without unnecessary bodily restrictions, ‘requires’ improvisational and trans-disciplinary conceptions of music, in which the child needs to have the right to bodily self-determination. The outcome of the study shows how conceptions of the child shape our conceptions of music, consequently resulting in multiple and diverse music practices.

  • 3.
    Wassrin, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.
    Towards Musicking in a Public Sphere: 1-3 year olds and music pedagogues negotiating a music didactic identity in a Swedish preschool2016Doctoral 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.

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