Creating sociomaterial conditions for fellow wellbeing at daycare: Analog and digital materiality for intergenerational teleogenetic collaboration

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Research topic/aim: The presented study aims at discussing the following two questions: How does a daycare center’s materiality promote or hinder well-being? And how do children alongside with staff and parents engage their agency via teleogenetic collaboration for drawing on and transforming this materiality in order to create conditions of fellow well-being?

Theoretical frameworks: From a sociomaterial, critical-psychological perspective, these two questions are inextricably interrelated: Materiality co-constitutes agency and therewith possibilities and limitations for sociality, while sociality co-constitutes how materiality is upheld and transformed through agency. Potentially, this co-constitution entangles human with non-human agents irrespective of age or generational ordering. Irrespectively, when it comes to discussing how a daycare center, generally intended to first and foremost promote children’s well-being, children’s own agentive, sociomaterial engagements of creating conditions for promoting one another’s well-being are widely ignored.

Methodology/research design: The presentation’s backdrop is a bigger research project which investigates children’s understandings of ‘doing alright’ and ‘feeling alright’ at various Danish daycare institutions in order to empirically situate commonly politicized notions of well-being. Within this frame, the author conducts an ethnographically inspired, collaborative empirical study that focuses on the role of spatial, material and social conditions for well-being engagements of both children and adults (pedagogical staff, parents as well as the researcher himself). Frequent participation in two daycare settings that, to a varying degree, embrace current political-educational pressures of introducing digital artifacts such as tablet computers into the pedagogical and managerial activities at daycare institutions, renders it possible to contrast how this may impact sociomaterial conditions for engaging in fellow well-being differently.

Expected conclusions/findings: Preliminary findings will be presented, which suggest that children are constantly engaging in creating and renegotiating conditions for own and fellow well-being by acting through the materiality provided by and inserted by all participants into the institutions. These potentially transformational engagements are however not necessarily accentuated and articulated as such by adult participants. This tendency may be aggravated when digital artifacts are introduced that create generationally ordered and compartmentalized imaginaries for what children and adults respectively are to engage in; among others digital play and learning for children, management, documentation and exchange of knowledge about children for the adults.

Relevance for Nordic educational research: The paper argues that this compartmentalization according to generational orderings, which is found all over Nordic daycare institutions, may be exacerbated by digitalization pressures and thereby complicate collaboration across ages, i.e. possibilities for engaging in creating meaningful sociomaterial conditions of well-being for one another. It therefore proposes processual-relational concepts such as ‘conduct of everyday life’ as well as ‘intergenerational teleogenetic collaboration’ in order to gradually overcome this limitation in Denmark as well as other Nordic countries and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event45th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) - Aalborg Universitet Kbh, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 23 Mar 201725 Mar 2017


Conference45th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA)
LocationAalborg Universitet Kbh
OtherLearning and education – material conditions and consequences
Internet address

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