”Med blicken på barnet – om olikheter inom förskolan som diskursiv praktik”.

Palla, L.
Malmö: Malmö högskola.


The purpose of this study is to render visible how children are created as subjects when their behaviour puzzles, worries and challenges the pedagogical staff, as well as what possibilities and limitations for children to act differently are created by this. Furthermore, the study examines how management of children and their behaviour is formulated in a special-needs pedagogical context at the daycare centre.


The study identifies different perceptions of children, which help construct the children as multiple subjects. These perceptions are grouped as the child growing and ready for development, the regulated child, the transparent and measurable child, the needy/demanding child and the confident and routinised child (i.e. the child has been embedded in and understands the routines of the daycare centre). There is inconsistency in situations in which, through speech, the staff try to create space for variation, but at the same time carry out discursive normalising actions through documentation and observation. The study concludes that the discursive practices, through which the children at the daycare centres are articulated, result in a certain room to manoeuvre for the children to act differently and be different, as long as the deviation is not too distinct or does not break too much with the regulations of the daycare centres. The author sees trends that a documentation culture is gaining ground at daycare centres, and she extrapolates that this culture will limit the children’s possibilities for being different by acting as truths about the children and their development. According to the author, the children’s age is a significant category to understand normalisation, as staff and child carers for children with special needs express a view of the child in which children must have achieved certain stages of development according to their age. The normalising discourse co-exists with a discourse that provides space for children’s differences.


The data material consists of two interviews with two child carers for children with special needs as well as recordings from 13 conversations between the two child carers and pedagogical staff. The author was not present during the conversations, which instead were recorded by the child carers for children with special needs. In addition, the analysis includes approx. 80 texts about children and documentation prepared by or for the pedagogical staff. The data material has been analysed on the basis of a post-structuralist analysis strategy inspired by Foucault and Butler, and the analysis focuses on norms, power, knowledge and management.


Palla, L. (2011). ”Med blicken på barnet – om olikheter inom förskolan som diskursiv praktik”. Malmö: Malmö högskola.

Financed by

Malmö University