Det ansvarsfulla mötet : En närhetsetisk analys av omsorgens innebörder i förskolan
Sammanfattning: This doctoral thesis embraces Care in the discipline of Early Childhood Education. In this thesis, the concept of responsibility is used to analyze the meaning of care in preschool. The scientific problem can be expressed as follows: How is it possible to grasp the aspects of responsibility in relation to the preschool and preschool teachers’ and staff’s mission in general, and as an expression of meaning of care and practices in particular?In order to construct new knowledge on this particular care responsibility in preschool, a theory of ethics is required. Such a theory of ethics cannot be derived solely from general ethical principles or rules, but need to put the emphasis on how people's relationships and mutual dependencies develop and can be maintained in a manner as to uphold that what is good and works in the relationship (Henriksen & Vetlesen, 2013). Against this background, the proximity ethical theory is particularly suitable as an analytical tool box for this thesis. It is represented in my work by Arne Johan Vetlesen, Zygmunt Bauman and Per Nortvedt. The proximity ethics is referred to as an experience-based ethics based on interpersonal practice. It is in this interpersonal practice that we meet the notions of duty and responsibility, respect and care.The thesis reflects a specific socio-historical era in preschool history: two breaking points, one in the 1990s and the other in the early 2000s. The thesis’ empirical material consists of analyses, partly from individual interviews that were collected during the period 1993-1995, and partly from focus group interviews gathered in the period 2004-2006.The purpose of this study is, by using a proximity ethical approach, to generate knowledge about meaning of care and practices by studying preschool teacher’s speech concerning responsibility during two different time periods: the period just before and just after the introduction of the Curriculum for the Preschool in Sweden (Lpfö98). The following research questions have been formulated for the work: How do preschool staff speak about the expressions of responsibility and the boundaries of responsibility in the preschool’s everyday life? In what way does a theory of care and the proximity ethical perspective contribute to a broader understanding of the meaning of care in preschool and the teaching profession’s ethical dimension, during the current periods of time and in a contemporary perspective?The interviews 1993-1995 reveals the following themes as examples of expressions of responsibility and boundaries of responsibility: Control and safety, Flexibility respectively Division of responsibility between preschool and parents, Family support: Information, solidarity and relief. Focus group interview 2004-2006 reveals the following themes as examples of expressions of responsibility and boundaries of responsibility: Peace and quiet, To pay attention to the children respectively The tension between service and educational activity, Family support: To maintain good relationships.In conclusion, the challenges that emerge when making the concept of care more visible in pre-school practice are discussed. These challenges are reflected on the basis of an analytical idea of responsibility in the encounter with the other. Furthermore, it is examined how the proximity ethical perspective can be used as a springboard for a contemporary and forward-looking discussion of the meaning of care in preschool and the pedagogical profession’s ethical dimensions.
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