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Mundane Habits, Ordinary Affects, and Methodological Creations

Holmes, Rachel and Jones, Liz and Osgood, Jayne (2018) Mundane Habits, Ordinary Affects, and Methodological Creations. In: Research Handbook on Childhoodnature: Assemblages of Childhood and Nature Research. Springer International Handbooks of Education (SIHE) . Springer. ISBN 3319672851

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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to rethink “thought” in qualitative inquiry. We attend to possibilities that open up when we turn our attention to habits, ordinary affects, and methodological creations that are integral to the ways in which we think. The challenge of putting new materialism and post-humanism to work requires significant ontological and epistemological shifts. Nevertheless, it is only by shifting the ground on which specific knowledge claims are made that we can potentiate a different logic which in turn can alter both thinking and, importantly, early years practice. Thus this chapter will resolutely refute general ideas or models of what constitute familiar objects in early childhood settings, for example, “the cardboard box” or “the snowman” [sic]. Instead, such models, in situating them within a “zone of indeterminacy” (Massumi 1993, p. 99), are, as a consequence, freed from habitual assumptions – assumptions that, in our view, delimit the possibilities of what is possible. The chapter works with objects and processes, deliberately avoiding foregrounding the child, to leave the uncertainty and ambiguity of which things are in play, alive in the text. Through experimental methods the chapter will draw on two early years projects: 2-Curious (a program of continued professional development for early years practitioners in Manchester, UK) and Knotknowing Diversity in Early Childhood (a research project reexamining “multicultural education” in an early years setting in London, UK), as generative examples of the potential of the entanglements observed during ethnographic research that take matter and materiality as their starting place.

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