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Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education

Critical Questions, New Imaginaries and Social Activism: A Reader


Edited By Marianne N. Bloch, Beth Blue Swadener and Gaile S. Cannella

Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education is a foundational text, which presents contemporary theories and debates about early education and child care in many nations. The authors selected are leading contributors in discussions about critical early childhood studies over the past twenty years; the editors are long-time scholars in the reconceptualizing early childhood movement. Audiences include students in graduate courses focused on early childhood and primary education, critical cultural studies of childhood, critical curriculum studies and critical theories that have been contested and debated and drawn from over the course of two decades.
The book is filled with recent scholarship by leading authors in the reconceptualization and rethinking of childhood studies and early childhood fields, who discuss foundational debates, new imaginaries in theory and practice and activist scholarship. A must-read for graduate students and professionals interested in beginning or continuing critical interrogations of current early childhood policy and reforms globally.
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Chapter Seven: Social Justice, Risk, and Imaginaries



Social Justice, Risk, and Imaginaries

Susan Grieshaber and Felicity McArdle ← v | 1 →

Even though it is 20 years since the first Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education Conference was held and much work has been undertaken in regard to using alternative theoretical and philosophical perspectives, the current state of the field suggests little headway has been made in reconceptualizing early childhood education and early childhood teacher education programs. Our focus in this chapter is the (missing) dimension of social justice perspectives. We understand social justice to mean a more equitable distribution of societal resources and explain this in greater depth in the section “Social Justice.” We consider some of the limitations for the field in dealing with issues of equity, access, and social justice and the reasons for this. A preference for normalization and standardization of thought and practice in terms of what is and can be known is almost always accompanied by governance and regulation that is both technical and instrumental. Possibilities for alternatives are increasingly obscured by the battery of measures, standards, norms, and tests. Our argument relates to how “equity is couched in a new technical vocabulary of risk management, market choice and quality assurance” (Luke, 2013, p. 144). To develop this argument, we look particularly at the concept of risk and draw on both early childhood education and early childhood teacher education. We consider how resistance and “risky practices” can be matters of social justice, and in conclusion, we...

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