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Documentation as a technology of power in early childhood education and care
Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of Childhood, Education and Society (BUS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1549-9900
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Documentation as a technology of power in early childhood education and care

Chair(s): Noora Heiskanen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)

Discussant(s): Kaisa Pihlainen (University of Eastern Finland), Terese Wilhelmsen (University of South-Eastern Norway)

The extent of documentation is increasing in early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the Nordics and plays a key role in its quality work. In addition, documentation has special importance when it comes to early childhood special education as it is seen to safeguard the child's right to support, to raise the quality of ECEC and to create obligations for professionals. Despite its prevalence, the centrality of documentation is a new feature in Nordic ECEC (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2022), reflecting the trend of data-based governance in Global North. This increased focus on data-based governance has been called the governance turn of education (Ball, 2009). During the governance turn, demand for documenting practices, including the production of either written or numerical data, has become a dominant technique of governing (Ozga et al., 2011; Piattoeva, 2018). However, the values hightlighted in Nordic ECEC such as democracy, emphasis on play and the absense of child assessment as a measure of quality are not easily combined with this governance turn (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2022).

In research, traditionally, documentation is often approached as a process of neutral recording of facts, consequently, framing documentation as passive, objective, and innocent (Dahlberg et al., 2007). In addition to its function of recording practices and agreements, documents can also be seen as institutional actors (Ferraris, 2013). This means that documentation is understood having consequences. However, only a little is known about what documentalization actually does in ECEC.

In this symposium, documentation is discussed as a technology of power, possessing multiple possible consequences to children, professionals, and institutions (Miller & Rose, 2008). With theoretical and empirical investigations, we crically examine the predominant understandings of documentation in Nordic ECEC. First, Noora Heiskanen and Maiju Paananen discuss theoretical and methodological approaches used in research about documentation using the two ongoing research projects as a starting point. Second, Linda Palla’s presentation illustrates an empirical research from Swedish ECEC documentation about mapping materials. Third, Karianne Franck’s presentation will investigate the barriers for listening to young children’s views and opinions in expert assessment documents with the help of a study conducted in Norway. Finally, discussants Kaisa Pihlainen and Terese Willhelmsen lead the discussion on documentation as a technology of power in research and ECEC practices.

References

Ball, S. (2009). The governance turn! Journal of Education Policy. 24(5), 537–538.

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (2007). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Languages of evaluation. Routledge.

Ferraris, M. (2013). Documentality: why it is necessary to leave traces. New York: Fordham University Press.

Miller, P., & N. Rose. (2008). Governing the present: Administering economic, social and personal life. Polity.

Nordic Council of Ministers (2022). Nordic Approaches to Evaluation and Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care. Final report.

Ozga, J., Dahler-Larsen, P., Segerholm, C., & Simola, H. (Eds.). (2011). Fabricating quality in education: Data and governance in Europe. Routledge.

Piattoeva, N. (2018). Elastic numbers: National examinations data as a technology of government. In Governing by Numbers (pp. 18–36). Routledge.

  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Child and youth studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-59192OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-59192DiVA, id: diva2:1750327
Conference
NERA 2023, Oslo, 15-17 mars
Note

Included in the symposium Documentation as a technology of power in early childhood education and care:

1) Approaches to Documentation as a Research Subject: from Content to Consequences

Noora Heiskanen1, Maiju Paananen

2) The need for speed: Identification of “the deviant” as the ultimate goal for high returns in ECEC

Linda Palla

3) Expert Gaze as Barrier for Listening to Children’s Verbal and Non-Verbal Expressions in Expert Assessment Documents

Karianne Franck

4) Discussion: Documentation as a technoloqy of power in early childhood education and care

Kaisa Pihlainen, Terese Wilhelmsen

Available from: 2023-04-13 Created: 2023-04-13 Last updated: 2023-11-23Bibliographically approved

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