Academic journal article Journal of Curriculum Theorizing

Childhood and Cultural Studies: Section Introduction

Academic journal article Journal of Curriculum Theorizing

Childhood and Cultural Studies: Section Introduction

Article excerpt

For 15 to 20 years the field of Early Childhood Education has engaged with postmodern, poststructural, feminist identity issues. Many of us would even propose that the field has followed the lead of the curriculum theorists toward reconceptualization of an area of work in which boundaries are blurred and curriculum is understood as "symbolic representation" (Pinar, et al., 1995, p. 16). The discourses, structures, and images that construct the field have been recognized as historical, political, gendered, westernized and racialized (See as examples Cannella & Viruru, 2004; Popkewitz & Bloch, 2001; Viruru, 2001; Soto, 2000; Dahlberg, Moss, & Pence, 1999; Yelland, 1998; Cannella, 1997; Tobin, 1997; Silin, 1995; Burman, 1994). However, the dominant discourses and perspectives within which curriculum and theories of learning continue to be grounded psychological and developmental perspectives (as revealed in large numbers of publications, state and national public policy discourses), embedded within adult/child dualisms, and, perhaps most importantly, continue to reinforce and reinscribe Anglo-American egocentrism and deterministic conceptualizations of curricular content and expert power.

In "Decentering Anglo-American Curricular Power in Early Childhood Education: Learning, Culture, and 'Child Development' in Higher Education Coursework," Jeanette Rhedding-Jones, Oslo University College professor, reveals the ways that Anglo interpretations of child, curriculum, and learning are embedded within early childhood teacher education curriculum in Norway. She uncovers this unquestioned power using poststructural, critical, and hermeneutic readings of course requirements (illustrated through course content and student readings lists). The reader is reminded to apply a critical disposition to even reconceptualist perspectives: What are the underlying assumptions in a particular theory? How is the notion of theory a Euro-American, elitist construct? …

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