Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education: Issues for Theory and Practice

Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education: Issues for Theory and Practice

Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education: Issues for Theory and Practice

Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education: Issues for Theory and Practice


Early childhood professionals are often required to work with children and families from a range of diverse backgrounds. This book goes beyond simplistic definitions of diversity, encouraging a much broader understanding and helping early childhood educators develop a critical disposition towards assumptions about children and childhood in relation to diversity, difference and social justice.

As well as drawing on research, the book gives an overview of relevant contemporary social theories, including poststructuralism, cultural studies, postcolonialism, feminist perspectives and queer theory. Each chapter interrogates practice and explores opportunities and strategies for creating a more equitable environment. The book covers a number of issues impacting on children's lives, including globalization, new racisms, immigration, refugees, homophobia, heterosexism and constructions of childhood. Each chapter provides an overview of the area of discussion, a focus on the implications for practice, and recommended readings.

Providing insight into how social justice practices in early childhood can make a real difference in the lives of children and their families, this is key reading for early childhood professionals, students and researchers.


This book by Kerry Robinson and Criss Jones Díaz brings a dynamic mix of poststructuralist theory and early childhood classrooms into the present, providing a wonderfully clear and accessible introduction to poststructuralist theory and to its implications for early childhood classroom practice. They take as their central point of departure the rich diversity of modes of being that children bring with them to the preschool in this endlessly changing, globalizing world. It is an important and original innovation in this book that they situate their analysis in the context of that globalized/globalizing world. At its best, that world is one where borders can be crossed and multiple ways of seeing and of being can be honoured and respected, and where pluralism, inclusion and the principles of democracy can be lived out in everyday lives. At its worst that globalized/globalizing world is a neoliberal nightmare, where the world's wealth is skimmed off by major corporations, and ordinary people become useful as consumers and as commodities to be manipulated and disposed of when it suits the market. In this worse form of globalization, ordinary people are made as homogeneous as possible to ensure that diversity and difference do not interrupt the easy substitution of one worker for another, one consumer for another, one commodity for another. In this version of globalization, borders are relaxed when it suits the flow of money to the corporations, and they are fiercely tightened when it comes to the ordinary poor seeking refuge from terror and annihilation (George 2004).

It is rare to find a book on early childhood that situates itself in this wider political context. Neoliberalism is in fact extraordinarily clever at disguising itself, dressing itself up in equal opportunities policies, for example, while actually producing something very far from equality (Lakoff 2004). In a recent review of early childhood texts (Davies 2005a), including those by Fraser et al. (2004), Lewis et al. (2004), Lareau (2003) and Anning et al. (2004), I found that they included no mention of the pervasive effects of globalization and of the neoliberal forms of management that have impacted on educational . . .

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