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The OECD partnership policy and Swedish Early Childhood Education: An assemblage ethnographic investigation

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Jan Gustafsson
Publicerad i Oxford Ethnography and Education Conference 18th-20st of September, 2018
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande
Språk en
Ämnesord Policy Assemblage, Ethnography, OECD partnership, Early Childhood education
Ämneskategorier Pedagogik


Purpose: Early Childhood Education in Sweden and the Nordic countries has a long tradition of social pedagogical policy in which learning; play and care, are made integrated (Jonsson, Williams and Pramling Samuelsson, 2017). Now there are indications that this situation is changing dramatically which this article aims to investigate. The study highlights Swedish Early Childhood Education policy as an assemblage in which neoliberal governance is produced through and within networks and partnerships (Ball, 2016; Brown, 2009). The purpose of this article is to investigate the productive forces that create and produce assemblages within this policy governance, how they formulate and transform Swedish Early Childhood Education policy. The concept of assemblage (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983) is useful to conceptualize the policy making and make it possible to analysis the moving elements; connections of discourses and materiality that forms different forces and trajectories and how they work to form and transform policy. Methodology: The study is conducted using assemblage ethnography (Youdell, 2015) with an analytical focus on the relationship between social formations, elements, discourses and materiality that produces policies, not on the policy itself. In order to work with assemblage ethnography, I have to get away from hierarchical forms of thinking and understanding. Instead, I am using the concept of "rhizome" that regards social formations as multidirectional and never ending together with lines (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983). The concept of lines helps me to think about how policy moves and transfer through a process of assemblage and re-assemblage and explore the ways in which early childhood education policy in Sweden may, or may not be stabilized (Clarke, 2015). Lines are like trajectories of components which create productive relationships with a number of potentialities and realisations. The ethnographic work is conducted by following and mapping the lines of forces that create and shape Early Childhood Education assemblage. Findings: In the ongoing analysis I have identified five lines which create a new Early Childhood Education assemblage. These five lines are: a. Neuroscience b. Teaching c. Digitalisation d. Disciplinary didactics (mathematics language, science) and e. Evidence based research and practice. Taken together shows this assemblage a major policy change in a direction towards bioscience, digitalisation and didactisation of Early years. Contribution to education/ethnography: The study illustrates a changing landscape of Swedish Early Childhood Education and contributes to an analysis showing significant changes of policy in a direction towards bioscience, digitalisation and didactic. This new policy assemblage stands in sharp contrast to the former social pedagogical and holistic policy with an integrated approach of learning, play and care. To make use and think through assemblage theory (De Landa, 2016), assemblage ethnography both complement och develop policy ethnography and offers analytical and methodological opportunities by placing the policy making into politics of translation and assemblage within neoliberal governance.

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