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Pupil's opportunities to influence activities: a study of everyday practice at a Swedish leisure-time centre

Journal article
Authors Björn Haglund
Published in Early Child Development and Care
Volume 185
Issue 10
Pages 1556-1568
ISSN 0300-4430
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 1556-1568
Language en
Keywords decision-making, ethnography, Giddens, influencing activities, school-age educare
Subject categories Pedagogical Work


The focal point of this article is a discussion of pupils' opportunities to make their voices heard and influence the activity in a Swedish leisure-time centre. The study comprises six weeks of ethnographically inspired field work including data from participating observations and walk-and-talk conversations. Two voluntary activities, referred to here as ‘free play' and ‘thematic activity', are discussed. The study shows that free play can be described as an activity where the staff take their point of departure based on the children's perspectives and the enhancement of democratic values and decision-making. The thematic activity can, as with free play, be described as a stimulating activity which is also in line with relevant steering documents. However, staff members’ points of departure are grounded in an adult perspective, a perspective that focuses on affording ‘good' activities. This results in an activity where the pupils’ opportunities to take part in democratic decision-making differ compared to that in free play. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

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