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ERIC Number: EJ795119
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 80
ISSN: ISSN-1528-3534
Racialization in Early Childhood: A Critical Analysis of Discourses in Policies
Pacini-Ketchabaw, Veronica; White, Jan; de Almeida, Ana-Elisa Armstrong
International Journal of Educational Policy, Research, and Practice: Reconceptualizing Childhood Studies, v7 n1 p95-113 2006
A large portion of the early childhood literature in the area of cultural, racial, and linguistic diversity addresses the practices of institutions for young children, immigrant/refugee parents' understandings of their situation, and provides recommendations for more inclusive practices. This body of literature has proved very useful in bringing issues related to young children and families from racialized minorities to the forefront of discussions in early childhood. What has not been widely discussed (and problematized) are the assumptions made in policies that guide early childhood services. Most of the existing critical policy analyses that have been conducted in the field do not directly address racialized discourses There are, however, important exceptions that focus primarily on welfare reforms. This article attends to this gap in the literature by reporting on a study conducted in British Columbia, Canada that addressed the following questions: (1) How do discourses that guide early childhood policies within British Columbia represent young children and families from "racialized" minorities (Aboriginal, Canadian, and foreign-born)?; (2) What assumptions and surrounding bodies of knowledge about young children and families from "racialized" minorities organize existing policy discourses?; and (3) What issues do these discourses claim to, or intend to, resolve? Two notes are necessary in order to situate the ideas the authors address. First, the aim of this article is to "interrogate" the policies that guide early childhood services in the province of British Columbia. Second, the authors also want to move away from the creation of culturally essentialising categories that are primarily concerned with group-based cultural differences. Their aim is to utilize "a critical literacy of 'race,' racisms, anti-racisms and racialization", involving "critical 'readings' of how power operates and how it transforms, and reforms, social relations, through racial categories and consciousness". Using a variety of interpretive methodologies that include critical discourse analysis and poststructural questioning, the authors review documents designed to establish guiding principles for early childhood education in British Columbia. The analysis reveals: (1) categorization of groups of people that creates artificial divisions and erases heterogeneity; (2) the construction of new modernist forms of colorblindness that accept universalist constructions of health and well-being by essentializing and diluting people under the category "all"; and (3) the creation of new positions in which racialized minority children are located, creating them as homogeneous, vulnerable, and needing to be saved by those in power. This article proposes that policies need to be critically examined as they are embedded with normalizing discourses that are often taken for granted. It provides an alternative interpretation to the work that has been conducted in early childhood policy; and moreover to the work that has been done in the area of "multiculturalism" in early childhood. It helps educators to understand that what they consider valuable knowledge might be part of discursive relations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada