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Exploring the Phenomenology of Whiteness in a Swedish Preschool Class
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6999-968x
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, Ethnology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1347-6476
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Early Childhood, ISSN 0020-7187, E-ISSN 1878-4658, Vol. 50, no 1, p. 1-14Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores how constructions of identity, race and difference permeate and are challenged in a Swedish preschool class. The study is informed by theories of phenomenology and critical whiteness. Data are drawn from a larger ethnographic study conducted in an ethnically diverse preschool. The purpose of the study was to explore how preschool teachers manage and reflect upon the construction of children’s social identity within the institution of a preschool. This report considers one incident relating to racial identity. It began with a child’s representation, the boy named Stanley, in a self-portrait: ‘I want to be white and blonde when I grow up… I want to be like Oscar, not a black boy’. Within this article we consider teachers’ reflections on this incident, discussing how ‘whiteness’ is performed, constructed and interrogated by young children and adults in the preschool and uncovering a certain institutional ‘colour blindness’. In this example ‘race’ announces itself and the children make it visible as an existing category in their everyday life. Children’s drawings and narratives reveal much about the implicit understandings and norms that surround them, pointing to teachers’ responsibilities for exploring the possibilities and limitations offered in preschool education to deal with these understandings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 50, no 1, p. 1-14
Keywords [en]
Critical whiteness theory, Phenomenology, Preschool, Reflexivity, Sweden
National Category
Ethnology Educational Sciences
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34840DOI: 10.1007/s13158-018-0210-3Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85044661141Local ID: 1254/3.1.1/2013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-34840DiVA, id: diva2:1197479
Part of project
Being and Becoming: A phenomenological perspective on formative dimensions of pre-school education in Sweden and Germany, The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 29/2013Available from: 2018-04-13 Created: 2018-04-13 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Schwarz, EvaLindqvist, Beatriz

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
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