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The changing landscape of Swedish Early Childhood Education policy: A policy assemblage investigation

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Jan Gustafsson
Publicerad i 26th International Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education Conference, 14-18, October 2018
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande
Språk en
Ämnesord Policy Assemblage, Early childhood education policy, Changing landscape, Lines
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 (Bennet, 2010). 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 policy networks (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 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 a policy assemblage approach (Savage, 2018). In order to work with a policy assemblage approach, 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. 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 analytical work is conducted by following and mapping the lines of forces that create and shape Early Childhood Education assemblage, not on the policy itself Findings: In the ongoing analysis I have identified sex lines which try to create a new Early Childhood Education assemblage and one line of resistance. The lines that try to create a new assemblage are: a. Neuroscience b. Teaching, c. Digitalisation d. Disciplinary didactics (mathematics language - literacy, science) and e. Evidence based research and practice, f. revised curriculum 2019. The line of resistance is created by the large number of preschool teachers who argues that teaching in preschool is synonymous with learning and co-construction of knowledge. This point of departure is criticized by the Swedish School Inspectorate (2016). Taken together shows this assemblage an major policy flow in a direction towards individualisation, bioscience, digitalisation and didactisation of early years. Contributions: 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 an educational assemblage consisting of: individualisation, bioscience, and digitalisation and didactic. This new policy assemblage raises questions about inequality and stands in sharp contrast to the Nordic model based on social pedagogy, play, learning and care. To make use and think through policy assemblage, the assemblage perspective both complement and develop policy studies and offers analytical and methodological opportunities by placing the policy making into politics of translation and assemblage within neoliberal governance.

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