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Seeking space for entanglements with young children in immanent material relationality

Macrae, Birgit and Barron, Ian and Taylor, Lisa (2020) Seeking space for entanglements with young children in immanent material relationality. Early Years: an international journal of research and development. ISSN 0957-5146

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Abstract

This paper explores haptic, affective, sensory and relational interconnections between a child (Erik) and objects, materials and a researcher-practitioner (Christina) at a nursery school in Manchester, United Kingdom (UK). In doing so, it draws upon a Post-humanist theoretical framework. Observational material was collected over the period of a school year. The discussion involves a diffractive three-way ‘thinking together’ conversation between the authors about what emerges as we attempt to listen to Erik’s voices. Improvisation in moments of physical sensation and action with objects, materials and Christina becomes a vehicle for tentative openings and immanent possibilities for all enfolded in the encounter. These are entangled, however, with national and international neoliberal expectations regarding literacy, numeracy and school readiness. We conclude that ‘dissenting from within’ is a necessary ethical practice if we are to offer something more optimistic for children’s becomings than acquiescence in the development of human economic capital.

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