Vilan i förskolan 1910-2013 : Visuella material och visuell metodologi

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to explore preschool naptime during the period 1910–2013 through visual materials, films and photographs produced by different actors for various purposes at various historical times, and to develop a visual methodology that works with complex visual materials. Even though naptime is central to everyday life in preschool, it is an activity that is rarely a focus of Early Childhood Education research.  The empirical data derives from two separate but interrelated studies, the first a video ethnographic field study and the second an archival ethnographic study. Both studies include films and photographs that visualise the material environments and social interactions that take place during preschool naptime.A theoretical framework based on ethnomethodology, visual studies, childhood studies and the history of childhood studies is used. The concept the look of is a theoretical and analytical focus as the photographic image contains visual information about what things and actions look like. The look of children’s and adults’ participation in naptime, the material objects and the preschool environment are the focus when scrutinising the visual data of the study to gain knowledge about how embodied actions, along with the material and spatial design of the preschool environment, form practices at naptime. The thesis takes a post-positivist stance towards the photographic image.A transdisciplinary methodology, the visual remake, is developed for visual analysis and is used as a tool for comparisons, visualisation of results and reflection. A visual remake maintains the visual aspects of the data in order to keep them visible throughout the research process. It is a tool that visualises observable findings and conceptualises a reflection process through images, and not exclusively via the written word.The study provides knowledge about everyday life in preschool. The results show how the material and spatial organisation of the room and the participants’ embodied actions in this environment constitute naptime in both historical and contemporary preschools. There are recurrent patterns in the social interaction, as well as similarities in the design of the environment that are stable over time. These are the ways in which the participants use their bodies and interact through embodied interactions. The comparative visual analyses, focusing on continuity and change, suggest that some of these practices can be theorised as path-dependent. The present-day study shows that children constitute a peer culture within naptime, often through secondary adjustments to institutional and adult-structured order. Although the ideal naptime is visualised in the historical materials, it is possible to trace the same sort of naptime peer culture. There are features in the design of the beds used during preschool naptime that are typical of the preschool institution, and this design and the overall organisation of naptime have a path-dependence to ideals in the half-day preschools.Methodologically, the thesis expands our knowledge of how different visual materials can serve as sources in ECE research and how a research design focusing on the comparison of present-day and historical data opens up space for new research questions.

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