Questioning diversity: practices and theories for the early childhood education profession

Year: 2002

Author: Rhedding-Jones, Jeanette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Given economic rationalism, diversity is construed as a competitive advantage, the production of hidden potential for the benefit of employing institutions. Seen as another word for difference, diversity admits complexity, a crossing of boundaries, voices from peripheries. By questioning discourses this paper focuses indirectly on who works in bureaucracies and administration, and who works in the professions of education and care for ECE and its higher education. In these locations information about race, home language, religion, social class, ability and sexual preference may be seen as private, without public surveillance. Further, the effects of cultural normalizations (in higher and on-going education for early childhood, in day care centres and classrooms) construct not cultural transformations but assimilations in practice . So positive potentials of diversity in the professions disperse. The research around this paper is funded by the Norwegian Research Council to investigate pedagogical institutions for children aged 0-10. Its foci are gender, complexity and diversity. In Norway much work is currently being done to recruit people of difference and of minority groups to the early childhood professions. To revision the professionalism of teachers, carers, lecturers, researchers and policy makers (paid in the name of education and care) is to see the possibilities differently, to hear the voices and see embodied people of difference, and people positioned otherwise.