The public upbringing of children in Swedish pre-schools went through a series of transformations 1830-1930. A series of transformations that, among other things, consisted in a shift from an education, similar to that in nineteenth century schools, to a pedagogy primarily centred on children’s play, handicrafts, painting pictures and singing children songs. The primary aim of this paper is to account for this transformation using the foucauldian concepts of power, governmentality and problematization, and a kind of structuralistic approach.
With this as my point of departure, the subject of my paper is the discursive conditions which made the above mentioned transformation possible. Using different materials from early pre-schools (i e infant schools), I argue that the expansion of the Swedish public school (“folkskolan”), a concept of “common good” and the economic and organisational limitations of the pre-schools were necessary conditions for the transformation.