Juggling, ‘reading’ and everyday magic: ECEC professionalism as acts of balancing unintended consequences

Christian Aabro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper analyses the consequences of what are regarded as neoliberal developments within the Danish ECEC area. More specifically, it looks at how an increasing monitoring and regulation affects the ECEC educator’s sense of professionalism. Drawing on a qualitative study of educators’ interactionist accounts, a series of unintended consequences is identified that seriously challenge them in their daily work. Previous research has pointed out the risk that this can lead to a process of deprofessionalization, in the sense that it limits professional autonomy and reduces the educators to mere policy implementers or ‘technicians’. But as I will demonstrate, a ground-up perspective on the reaction of the ECEC educators reveals degrees of agency and discretion that adds to this discussion, pointing towards not only deprofessisonalization, but also new forms of professionalism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)757-771
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • agency
  • ECEC
  • neoliberalism
  • professionalism

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