Early Years Practitioners' narratives of poverty in early childhood

Lyndon, Sandra (2019) Early Years Practitioners' narratives of poverty in early childhood. Doctoral thesis, University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on Early Years Practitioners who are working with young children and families in early years provision in England. Adopting a narrative approach the study sought to explore how their understandings of poverty in early childhood are shaped by dominant discourses of poverty and professional and personal experiences. Poverty as a concept is multi-dimensional and dynamic including both the experience of poverty as well as absolute and relative understandings. Under the New Labour Government, Early Years Practitioners were positioned as part of a long-term strategy to alleviate child poverty. Successive government policies have resulted in cuts to early years funding under austerity measures and an increasing focus on children and families with the greatest need. Early Years Practitioners hold a contradictory position, being part of a strategy to address poverty in early childhood, whilst at the same, time being part of a workforce which is to a large extent highly gendered, low status and low paid.

The research was conducted as a case study in two integrated settings consisting of a maintained nursery school, children’s centre and daycare provision in the south-east of England during November 2015 to June 2016. Although the settings were in areas of overall relative affluence, they both served areas of deprivation. Therefore, Early Years Practitioners were working with children and families on low incomes. Thirty-eight Early Years Practitioners took part in focus groups to explore how narratives of poverty might be shaped by dominant discourses of poverty and sixteen Early Years Practitioners took part in follow-up interviews to explore how narratives of poverty might be shaped by their personal and professional experiences. The ‘subject’ of the case was the Early Years Practitioners and the analysis and theorisation of their narratives of poverty the ‘object’. Foucault’s concept of regimes of truth was used to explore how Early Years Practitioners’ understandings of poverty might be shaped by dominant policy discourses. The concept of ‘small stories’ was used to explore how Early Years Practitioners’ narratives of poverty are co-constructed within interaction, and understandings of how they position themselves in relation to ‘other’ were explored through I-positions. Five participants took part in a final presentation and discussion of the initial findings, providing an opportunity to comment on and contribute to the analysis of the data.

The complexity of the interconnections between

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1139 Early childhood education
Divisions: Departments > Childhood and Youth
Depositing User: Sandra Lyndon
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 15:09
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 15:09
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/4242

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