Daycare as ethical space for mutually supportive critical exploration and conflictual teleogenetic collaboration towards well-being

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How to conceptualize well-being in ways that acknowledge young children as agentic and relational beings? And how to inquire into young children’s well-being so that the concept can become relevant to everyday day-care practice? The paper emanates from a larger empirical study gathering four researchers with varying theoretical standpoints, which investigates and seeks to conceptualize how well-being is done in Danish day-care institutions together with its stakeholders. As part of this study, the author is particularly attentive to how child and adult stakeholders arrange spaces of well-being for one another within the conditions at hand, including digitally mediated spaces in times of intensified digitalization of educational institutions.
Ongoing analyses, worked out in collaboration with academic and non-academic project participants, point to the necessity of conceptualizing materiality and space as integral to relational notions of subjectivity, and herewith individual and collective possibilities for promoting well-being. In particular, children’s practices of striving towards well-being underline the necessity to inquire into and renegotiate the very ontology of well-being together with one another. Foremost, well-being does not necessarily imply harmony sensu the absence of conflict: Well-being is a transgenerational, collaborative as well as contested and conflictual process, and thus rather to be termed ‘teleogenetic well-becoming’.
The paper argues that if children are truly understood as agentic and relational beings, psychology’s task is to co-develop concepts that establish malleable institutional spaces that invite all stakeholders, irrespective of age, to support the critical inquiry and conceptual negotiation of one another’s well-being in ethically sustainable ways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology 2017: The Ethos of Theorizing - Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017
Conference number: 17


ConferenceThe 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology 2017
LocationRikkyo University
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