Children, bodiliness and the day care order

Children, bodiliness and the day care order. A study on the production of embodiment, and its significance to children in the context of a day-care centre. The purpose of the study is to describe and conceptualize children’s everyday bodily lives in the context of a day-care centre. The study will illustrate bodiliness from children’s viewpoint by manifesting body and embodiment diversity, and its key status in children’s daily lives in day-care. The aim is to bring out bodily matters that are relevant among children but may appear for adults self-evident, or are considered “naturally” belonging to childhood. The theoretical base of the study lies at the intersection of early childhood studies, the sociology of childhood, and the social study of the body. The analysis of empirical data applies as theoretical thinking tools, among others, concepts introduced by Michel Foucault, Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu, in order to better catch children’s embodied habits and practices in the process of their daily lives. The study adopts a social constructionist perspective. The answers to the research questions have been searched using ethnographical data collected in a day-care centre in a Central Finland town.  The most essential part of the data consists of observations and both children’s individual and pair interviews. In addition, the data include drawings, photographs and a field work diary. The empirical data has been compiled in a 5-6 year-old’s group in a day-care centre. The research applies a comprehensive approach to depict children’s bodily lives and enlightens its production through different situations, facilities and routines (dressing up, meals, hygiene routines, day rest), children’s interrelationships and interpretations given by children.  In this research the focus is on the control of children’s bodily lives, the bodily resources possessed and used by children as reflected in children’s mutual interaction, and the significance given to bodiliness by children themselves.  The study demonstrates that bodiliness prevails in everything and pervades day-care life throughout.


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City (for University):
University of Jyväskylä