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Reading the nursery classroom: a Foucauldian perspective

Jones, Liz and Brown, Tony (2001) Reading the nursery classroom: a Foucauldian perspective. International journal of qualititative studies in education, 14 (6). pp. 713-725. ISSN 0951-8398

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Abstract

This paper examines ways in which styles of language usage mediate attempts at describing classroom practice. The authors' particular focus centres on discursive power and they seek to illustrate some of the effects and consequences of applying certain Foucauldian concepts and analytical procedures within depictions of interactions between children and with the teacher in a nursery classroom. The paper begins by introducing an example of children's play. To this are applied analyses which stem from readings of Foucault. In so doing, it is shown how power both permeates and defines subjective positionings and where, as a consequence, individuals experience themselves as both powerful and powerless. A second example is offered in which a teacher talks to a child. The authors' analyses of this can, they believe, be perceived as a reflexive act, where the teacher's own beliefs, including her feminism, are critiqued and redefined.

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