Forskel og fællesskab: Minoritetsbørn i daginstitution.

Bundgaard, H.; Gulløv, E.
København: Hans Reitzels Forlag.


The study focuses on the everyday life at daycare centres with children of different social and cultural backgrounds. The aim is to explore how social differentiation is reproduced and constructed in everyday situations, with a view to discussing access to equal opportunities for children at daycare centres. The study especially focuses on how social and cultural diversity influence the work at daycare centres, internal relationships between children and cooperation with the parents. The following specific questions are asked: How do social and cultural complexities impact the work at daycare centres, the children's relationships internally, the teaching and cooperation with the parents? Do cultural and social differences affect the friendships made between children at daycare centres? Are different backgrounds significant in terms of the pedagogical management? Is cooperation between parents and staff affected by the fact that they have significantly different experience? What are the implications of the political focus on integration for the pedagogical priorities?


The study shows that inclusion and exclusion processes with regard to minority children already occur at daycare centres in the interaction between the children as well as between child carer and child and between child carer and parents. Inclusion and exclusion processes are based on dominant aspects of the institutional routines (language, mutual references, games, physical conditions, social categories), which amplify specific behaviours while neglecting or undermining others. Therefore, minority children experience the risk of exclusion, and boys especially seek out each other's company across different linguistic, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Inclusion and exclusion processes occur in all types of interaction between the children, between the staff and the children and between the staff and the parents. In conclusion, daycare centres do not automatically prepare minority children to read and write when they begin school. For example, they do not automatically see the purpose of reading books or developing the bodily discipline that reading requires. It is a paradox that efforts made by the staff to avoid making a difference between the majority and minority in fact create new ways to emphasise that minority children and their parents are 'not informed about the rules governing correct behaviour’. The staff experience a degree of helplessness in the interaction with minority children and their parents, which at times results in situations of power demonstration.


The study is an ethnographic case study. Observations and detailed interviews have been conducted at two Danish daycare centres. Approximately 100 people (children, child carers and parents) with different cultural and social backgrounds participated in the study. On the basis of specific observations, the study focuses on general themes such as friendship, responsibility, categorisation, marginalisation and administrative bureaucracy.


Bundgaard, H.; Gulløv, E. (2008). Forskel og fællesskab: Minoritetsbørn i daginstitution. København: Hans Reitzels Forlag.

Financed by

The study is funded by SHF, and the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, now FKK Culture