Barnet och barnomsorgen : Bilden av barnet i ett socialpolitiskt projekt

Sammanfattning: Swedish child-care institutions - day nurseries, kindergartens - did not until the 1930s become a concern of the Government. In 1943 the Swedish Riksdag for the first time passed a bill that gave child-care institutions a Government subsidy. This thesis deals with the Government's and the parliamentary commissions' attitudes to child-care institutions. Which type of institution ought to receive a subsidy? And for what reasons? The main argument for child-care institutions has always been that they could stimulate a sound development, for the child's own good and for society's. From the 1930s and into the 1950s most participants in the child-care debate stated that the kindergarten or part-time institutions for the pre-school child from the age of three and upwards was the preferable type. Day nurseries for children, even infants, of families were both parents had to work might be necessary but were to be seen as an emergency solution. From the mid-60s the attitu-de changed. Step by step full-time day nurseries became the institutions that were given priority by the Government. This change in attitude presupposes that the notion of the child changed as well. But it did not change in a vacuum. Borrowing an explanatory model from sociologist Johan Asplund, the thesis treats the child as a "figure of thought", placed between a super-structural discourse on child-care and society's basic, material conditions. Important changes at the level of discourse have been the attitude to modern, industrial society, e.g. the necessity of learning to live and work in a society which is complex, highly specialized and in constant change, and the debate on women's emancipation. At the level of material conditions, the most conspicious change is that more and more women have entered the labour market. The changing notion of the child can be understood as the effect of an influence from discourse and base on the "figure of thought". At the same time, the "figure of thought" in-fluenced the discourse. Thus, a child-care system for the benefit of child and woman and labour market could be established, and harmony could be created, at least in the discourse.