Master Bente Ulla
Title of dissertation:
Arrangement of Force, Body and Knowledge: A Study of Kindergarten Teachers' Professionalism
This dissertation is composed of a collection of four articles which all explore kindergarten teachers’ professionalism. Drawing on theoretical and methodological perspectives from Michel Foucault, the study analyses how professionalism may come into existence through an apparatus of bodies, power and knowledge. The dissertation is therefore titled: Arrangement of Force, Body and Knowledge: A Study of Kindergarten Teachers’ Professionalism. The contemporary Norwegian kindergarten forms the thematic terrain of the study. It is designed as an experimental qualitative study which has come into existence on the juncture between theory and empirical constructions. It uses combined strategies, such as observations, group interviews and document studies. The Foucauldian concept of the dispositive/apparatus is set as the analytic approach of the research. The concept forms a passage through which the discursive configurations and reconfigurations of epistemic conditions can be extracted and dwelled upon. The work contributes to an expanding field of kindergarten research by exploring everyday life in the kindergarten. It offers critical perspectives on the manner in which professionalism is entangled in a play of force, bodies and knowledge. In addressing these aspects, secondary stories emerge—stories of how children are constructed in the context of early childhood education and care. The dissertation presents critical approaches concerning the increasing demand for mapping children’s skills in contemporary kindergartens by exploring nuances of kindergarten teachers’ knowledge, judgment and practice. The study makes empirical contributions by illuminating events in everyday life and analysing how the microelements of an apparatus enable pedagogy to be re-shaped in relation to contemporary conditions. By approaching governmentality through this analytical lens, the dissertation contributes methodologically with its transgressions of divisions between pedagogy and politic, theory and practice and body and mind. It contributes to the theory on how force circulates in micro-elements of the everyday kindergarten, as well as how surveillance and age-classifications are entangled in an arrangement where each child is being framed as a case.