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Critical Examinations of Quality in Early Education and Care

Regulation, Disqualification, and Erasure


Edited By Gaile S. Cannella, Michelle Salazar Pérez and I-Fang Lee

Quality rating systems discourses and practices are increasingly dominating early childhood care and education around the globe. These rating systems are constructed with the assumption that universally appropriate environments can be constructed for all those who are younger. This deterministic, ratings, and measurement oriented perspective is consistent with neoliberal discourses that privilege competition, accountability, consumer materialism, and notions such as human capital; this contemporary neoliberal condition does not support concern for the common good, democracy, equity, justice, or diversity (unless the support can facilitate new forms of capitalist gains). Ultimately, this is not a positive situation for those who are younger. The chapters in this book have two goals: (1) to provide the reader with an opportunity to engage with some of the specific problems that result from putting forward ‘quality’ as a dominant construct, and (2) to generate conversations and locations from diverse knowledges and multiple ways of being that could lead to the rethinking of quality, understandings of quality as a narrowing construct/practice, and/or going beyond (and outside of) notions of quality.
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Chapter Eight: Reconfiguring Quality: Beyond Discourses and Subjectivities to Matter, Bodies and Becomings in Early Childhood Education


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Reconfiguring Quality

Beyond Discourses and Subjectivities to Matter, Bodies and Becomings in Early Childhood Education


The aim of this chapter is to consider possibilities of reconfiguring ‘quality’ within the complex field of early years education and care. The chapter charts the persistence of quality discourses in early childhood education in the English context and goes on to revisit the inherent dangers that lurk within those discourses. We unpick aspects of the Nutbrown Review: Foundations for Quality (2012) with its focus on professional qualifications and career pathways which (yet again) calls into question the quality of the early childhood workforce. Although collective professional subjectivities of educators might be understood as contained within regulatory discourses, it is our intention to move beyond deconstructing discourses and critiquing policy to think beyond quality. To do this we attempt to look beyond (and with) the subject (Butler, 1993) to argue that quality and professional subjectivities in early childhood are of the world, not just the person—quality is everywhere and part of everyday life (Haraway, 2008). By working with some posthumanist concepts we attempt to move beyond conceptualisations of quality as discursively constructed within discourses—that then contain professional subjectivities. Our aim is to offer a generative reconfiguration of quality which traces material-semiotic entanglements within early childhood contexts. By moving away from hegemonic framings of quality and by inviting an engagement with curiosities,...

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