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A new materialist rethinking of preschool children’s interests and explorations.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A new materialist rethinking of preschool children’s interests and explorations


Anna Günther-Hanssen1


1Department of Education, Uppsala University, Sweden


I aim to explore gender connected to children’s interests and explorations in preschool using new materialist theory, with focus on Barad’s agential realism and Deleuze and Guattari´s philosophy of immanence. The Swedish preschool curriculum is diffused by a notion of the importance of following, challenging and highlighting the interests and explorations of the children. I am especially interested in affordances of using the concepts of desire, the virtual and performative agents to explore this notion further. In applying these concepts I hope to open up new possibilities for understanding children’s interests and strategies connected to gender aspects and new potentialities in subjectification and learning. For example, I am interested in exploring the concept of desire as a thinking tool instead of looking at children’s explorations as motivated by ‘interest’. Sandvik (2013) states that desire can be seen as constituted by the performative agents (Barad, 2007) in each situation. She also points out that the performative agents in preschool, at least partly, get their agency from the virtual landscape (thoughts, images, dreams, the past, the present, potential becomings) that surrounds them in that moment. Thus, this virtual landscape, which can include gender in different ways, can be seen as co-creator of agency or power, in other words co-creator of children’s explorations, interests and potentialities. At the conference I will present some preliminary results from my analysis of video recordings of preschool practice, and would like to discuss the potentialities of the concepts mentioned connected to gender and preschool.

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway. Quantum physics of the entanglement of matter and meaning. London: Duke Universal Press.

Sandvik, N. (2013). Medvirkning og handlingskraft i småbarnspedagogiske praksiser : Horisontalt fremforhandlet innflytelse. (2013:141), NTNU.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Gender, New Materialism, preschool, children’s interests and explorations, desire, the virtual, performative agents, Deleuze, Barad
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-305447OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-305447DiVA: diva2:1038461
Gender and Education Association Biennial Interim Conference 2016 - Gender Equality Matters: Education, Intersectionality and Nationalism, Linköping University
Available from: 2016-10-18 Created: 2016-10-18 Last updated: 2016-10-18

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