Contributing from the margins: The exploration of children’s perspectives as a political endeavor

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To engage in practice research implies taking a range of ethical-political decisions. One of the most critical decisions is to set the analytical focus, which encompasses the questions of who to collaborate with and on what grounds, as well as with which concepts to interpret the findings. In my empirical study, I focused on kindergarten children’s first-person perspectives on the electronic media technologies they deemed subjectively relevant for conducting everyday life in the practice of their kindergarten. The concept of the children’s perspectives opens possibilities for transcending the widespread, one-sided explanations of the relationship between a child and technology, which ascribe agency either to the child or to the technology. However, attempts to access these perspectives raises a number of epistemological and ethical-political challenges, most crucially regarding the concrete role of the practice researcher when engaging with her/his potential co-researchers and the investigated, socio-materially mediated practice.
The paper will argue that making sense of first-person perspectives – here on conducting a life with media technologies – presupposes that the researcher conceptualizes him/herself as a contributor to an investigated practice, as inextricably entangled with the conducts of life of the others in relation to the conditions in practice. Doing research in the kindergarten thus becomes a mutual and collective endeavor, to which pedagogues, parents, children, and the researcher contribute. Even though it is therefore relevant to investigate the socio-material interplay between all participants, the paper especially emphasizes the children’s perspectives in the analysis – perspectives that are otherwise easily overlooked, as a child’s position in the kindergarten practice remains the most marginal and vulnerable. It subsequently discusses how this ethico-political decision may call for a reformulation of the concept of the first-person perspective in more general terms.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event15th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology: Dialogue and Debate in the making of Theoretical Psychology - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile & Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago, Chile
Duration: 3 May 20137 May 2013


Conference15th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology
LocationPontificia Universidad Católica de Chile & Universidad Alberto Hurtado
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