Demokratiuppdrag i förskolan.

Ribaeus, K.
Doktorsavhandling, Karlstad: Karlstad Universitet.


This study is a PhD dissertation written as a monograph. The purpose of this study is to examine the democratic mission of preschools as expressed through preschool teachers' speech and practical work as well as through the children's actions. The aim of this study is to generate knowledge about how democracy is used in practice at preschools and the democratic subjects that are supported and developed by preschool teachers.


A key point of the dissertation is that preschool teachers find it difficult to implement and work with democracy in practice, despite the fact that they place great emphasis on the democratic mandate. Even though children's influence and participation are included as a goal in their work plan, the preschool teachers do not feel that these goals can be achieved or are adequately expressed in pedagogical practices. Despite these difficulties with working explicitly with democracy at preschools, the analyses show that the preschool teachers seem to work more subconsciously with goals regarding children's participation and influence. This takes place when preschool teachers help establish and define frameworks and possibilities for children to influence and participate. Moreover, the study shows that focus has shifted from groups to the individual child. Thus the results show that the practical work with democracy at preschools focuses on the individual child as the subject rather than on the group. The study also shows that the children often embrace possibilities to participate and influence when such possibilities arise. However, the children also create their own possibilities by initiating and presenting ideas about what they want to do at preschool.



The study is based on field work carried out between 2008 and 2010 at a preschool ("förskola"). The study includes five preschool teachers ("förskollärere") and 20 children aged 3-6 years. The field work consisted of observations of preschool teachers' planning meetings, their work with the children, and the children's own play activities. The empirical material comprises field notes, two focus group interviews with preschool teachers as well as miscellaneous local documents such as work plans and evaluations. The analyses of the dissertation are based particularly on Biesta's concept of democracy and understanding of the relationship between democracy and education. In addition, the dissertation draws on studies on democracy at school and preschool focusing particularly on children's influence and participation. Linde's theory on institutional narratives is also included in parts of the analysis.


Ribaeus, K. (2014): ”Demokratiuppdrag i förskolan”. Doktorsavhandling, Karlstad: Karlstad Universitet.

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