Public-Private Boundaries and the Welfare State. Relationships between Families and Early Childhood Education and Care Organizations
Dienstag, 15.03.2022:
9:00 - 11:30

Virtueller Veranstaltungsort: Zoom Seminarraum 25

963 1451 6376, 008806
8. Sozialpädagogik und Pädagogik der frühen Kindheit, Sektion 8, Kommission Pädagogik der frühen Kindheit, qualitativ, quantitativ, Englisch


Public-Private Boundaries and the Welfare State. Relationships between Families and Early Childhood Education and Care Organizations

Chair(s): Prof. Dr. Sabine Bollig (Trier University), Prof. Dr. Tanja Betz (Mainz University)

Since ECEC has become a central field of action in the social investment state, manifold efforts to enhance its benefits in relation to the family can be observed. Based on the idea of diverse rationales of public-private boundaries related to ECEC, the symposium explores the complex constellations of family-ECEC in which the diverse actors are involved and the unequal effects those constellations produce. It is questioned how political, familial and organizational strategies and rationales effect ECEC and its relationship to the family and lead to new forms of educational inequality. It is addressed how those public-private boundaries come into play in the reflective or tacit actions in the everyday relationships between family and ECEC. Projects from Sweden, Germany, Belgium and New Zealand investigate the relationships between families and organizations from an inequality perspective and reflect the particular (trans-)national contexts and the effects of related ECEC policies.


Beiträge des Panels


Inequality and the Social Space of Swedish Preschools: The Consequences of Families’ Preschool Enrolment in a Marketised Welfare State

Dr. Håkan Forsberg, Prof. Dr. Esbjörn Larsson
Uppsala University

Swedish preschool provision has grown exponentially since the 1970s to include 95 percent of all 4-5-year olds today. Following political struggles, a publicly funded voucher system for preschools was introduced in 2009 (Westberg & Larsson 2020). This has facilitated the development of local preschool markets, where families are able to ‘choose’ between settings. In this paper we investigate families’ strategies regarding preschool enrolment. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and strategy, we analyse how the composition and distribution of capital among parents relates to the character of the preschool within which they enrol. The analysis is based on individual register data on all families in Sweden for the year 2016. This comprises of information on approximately 500 000 children. We use specific multiple correspondence analysis (specific MCA) to analyse the differences between these children (using their parents’ education, income, occupation, and national origin), the preschools’ socio-economical and pedagogical characteristics (such as social recruitment, and teacher composition regarding their social background), and the composition of providers in the preschool market. The analysis of the Swedish social space of preschools indicates an overarching structure of enrolment that not just segregates children with different living conditions, but also creates an inequality when it comes to the kind of early childhood education and care they receive.


Parent-professional relations in ECEC: on instrumentalisation and consumentality

Prof. Dr. Michel Vandenbroeck, Dr. Jochen Devlieghere
Ghent University

Welfare states have responded differently to the sociological changes since the 1960’s in the family. Liberal welfare states considered ECEC as a private commodity with very little state responsibility while social democratic welfare states considered the education and care as a shared responsibility, belonging to the public domain. However, over the last decennia, the “commodification” of ECEC has been a global phenomenon, marked by marketisation, privatization and a shift from supply-side to demand-side funding. These changes occurred across different types of welfare regimes, yet in various and hybrid ways, profoundly influencing the parent-professional relations. We analyzed the discourse on parent involvement in the academic literature and in curricula in different continents, to examine this glocal phenomenon. It reveals that parents are instrumentalized for the development of their children and that parent participation seems to be defined without parents. A second trend is that parents are increasingly viewed as consumers, their satisfaction is seen as a quality criterium and an indicator of parent involvement. Empirical evidence shows, however, that there is hardly any relation between satisfaction and quality and that despite the argument of “parental choice”, demand-side finding results in lower quality. That raises the question of whom is served by the ideological choice for commodification.


Family-ECEC relations as unequal ‘public-private partnerships’

Prof. Dr. Sabine Bollig1, Prof. Dr. Tanja Betz2, Anna-Lena Bindges1, Nadine Kaak2, Angelika Sichma1
1Trier University, 2Mainz University

In the course of increasing public investments in early childhood, both ECEC services and families are faced with higher expectations towards their educational tasks – which are, moreover, understood as joint-efforts to be realized together. The related programmatic standard of ‘educational partnerships’ between ECEC and family is ambivalent, as it is instrumental for uplifting parental rights in public services but also as an effective means of addressing the educational competencies of (especially "less educated") families. Consequently, and according to the increasingly diverse functions of ECEC, the rhetoric of partnership entails a multitude of conflicting aims, which are processed and negotiated in the everyday cooperation between parents, children and professionals. In our presentation, we will focus on those everyday negotiations of ‘public’ and ‘private’ expectations, tasks and responsibilities between professionals, parents and children in German ECEC centres as social arenas for negotiating public-private boundaries in the upbringing of the youngest. In particular, we highlight the various and unequally distributed opportunities, resources and strategies for this boundary work as well as its excluding effects for children and parents. The analyses stems from the ethnographic research project PARTNER (University of Mainz & Trier, funded by BMBF), which investigates the practices of those 'public-private partnerships' in a childhood studies and inequality perspective


Global concerns, local responses: Working with families in superdiverse New Zealand

Dr. Angel Chan1, Dr. Jenny Ritchie2
1The University of Auckland, 2Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand is a superdiverse ‘settler society’, originally settled by the Indigenous Māori and since 1840 colonised by Britain. Pākehā, people of European ancestry, remain the dominant cultural group within the current superdiverse demographics comprising over 200 ethnicities. After Pākehā (70%) and Māori (16.5%), Asian peoples (15.1%) make up the next largest population grouping (Statistics New Zealand 2020). The early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education [MoE] 2017) expects teachers to work in partnership with families (MoE 2017). ‘Family and Community’ is one of its four principles, and ‘Belonging’ is one of its five strands. The principles and strands work holistically to guide pedagogy and practice. Involving families in ECEC settings is considered to promote belonging and teacher-family partnership. Because Te Whāriki is not migrant-inclusive, we argue that its expectation of partnership may not be working well for all families. Using qualitative data collected from individual interviews, we highlight a lack of teacher partnership with transnational migrant families who have no sense of belonging in New Zealand’s ECEC settings. Drawing from the theoretical positionings of transnationalism (Vertovec 1999) and critical pedagogy of place (Greenwood 2008), we recommend using local Indigenous Māori wisdom to address global migration-driven inequality concerns.