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Working with (post)theories to explore embodied and unrecognised emotional labour in English Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)

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Technocratic accountability, which is impacting on ECEC practices in England, is where the government favours evidence-based knowledge to work with children. As a result, the emotional aspect of ECEC work and emotional labour have become increasingly complex and are sometimes unrecognised. In this paper we the importance of more relational, connected and embodied ways to work with young children. Analysing qualitative semi-structured interview data from two projects, we focus on emotional labour which is interpreted with poststructuralist and posthuman affect theory. The resultant analysis allows us to reconsider knowledge-making practices in ECEC and challenge existing Cartesian dualistic thinking which separates ‘care’ and ‘education’. Data from the first project sees us analyse narratives from ECEC practitioners highlighting the relationship between government policies and dominant discourses. The second project notes entanglements with human and other-than-human bodies enacted with affect theory which reveals embodied other-than-human productions of emotional labour generating alternative ways to explore ECEC work. By engaging with these two theoretical and conceptual positions we offer a different perspective to consider ECEC professional knowledge(s) and reveal the ways these can shed an alternative light on professional practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
JournalGlobal Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020


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