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Tokens, peer context and mobility in preschool children's positioning work
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Education.
2010 (English)In: Nordisk Barnehageforskning, ISSN 1890-9167, Vol. 3, no 2, 41-52 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article is about the positioning work of preschool children. Ethnographic observations were made of interactions among 2–5-year-olds in their preschool setting. In the analysis, Corsaro’s theoretical framework of children’s peer cultures and positioning theory as described by Harré & Langenhove were used. Results show that children share knowledge concerning their social positions in the peer group as built up, negotiable and possible to move between in relation to various ‘tokens’, namely established relationship, proper age and specific competence, all of which change in relevance depending on the actual peer context and activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 3, no 2, 41-52 p.
Keyword [en]
Preschool children, Peer cultures, Positioning work, Tokens, Ethnographic observation
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-28618OAI: diva2:639965
Available from: 2013-08-12 Created: 2013-08-12 Last updated: 2013-09-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Barns sociala vardagsliv i förskolan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Barns sociala vardagsliv i förskolan
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Children’s everyday social life in preschool
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of the studies in this dissertation is to contribute knowledge about children’s shared social knowledge in their preschool peer cultures, regarding both content and how it is established and maintained.

An ethnographic approach has been used to study the shared activities of children, aged 3-5, in the preschool. During 1 ½ years, one preschool setting was visited on a regular basis. One hundred hours of observation have been made and documented through video camera recordings and field notes. The theory of children’s peer cultures (Corsaro, 2005), positioning theory (Harré & Langenhove, 1999a) and social representation theory (Moscovici, 2001) have been used as theoretical tools in the analyses.

The empirical results are presented in four articles (articles I-IV) and are all illustrations of the children’s shared social knowledge. The findings are that children’s shared social knowledge involves two main aspects of knowledge about relations; how to establish and maintain relations vis-à-vis various tokens or social resources (articles III and IV), and how to create distance to relations (articles I and II). Another find is that there seems to be a tension between the children’s social knowledge and the social norms explicitly formulated in the studied preschool context.



Abstract [sv]

I den här avhandlingen undersöker Lovisa Skånfors barns sociala vardagsliv i förskolan. Det specifika syftet är att bidra med kunskap om barns gemensamma sociala kunskaper i förskolans kamratkulturer, både vad gäller dess innehåll och hur de etableras och upprätthålls. Författaren har genom ett etnografiskt arbetssätt följt barns gemensamma aktiviteter på en 3-5-årsavdelning i en svensk förskola, under 1,5 år.

Resultatet visar att barns gemensamma sociala kunskaper handlar om hur man kan skapa och upprätthålla relationer och hur man kan distansera sig från relationer. Barns sociala relationer skapas och upprätthålls i relation till olika sociala resurser (rätt ålder, specifika kompetenser och tidigare etablerade relationer). Barn skapar dessutom distans till andra barn och vuxna genom att på olika sätt dra sig undan i förskolekontexten. Resultatet visar också att det tycks finnas en spänning mellan barnens gemensamma sociala kunskaper och de normer om kollektivitet som explicit formuleras i den studerade förskolekontexten.

Avhandlingen vänder sig till forskare och praktiker med intresse för frågor kring förskola och förskolebarns sociala samspel.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2013. 65 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2013:32
Children's peer cultures, children's interactions, preschool, social status, power, exclusion, tokens, social resources, positioning theory, social representation theory, withdrawal strategies, ethical radar, Barns kamratkulturer, barns interaktioner, förskola, status, makt, exklusion, sociala resurser, positioneringsteori, social representationsteori, strategier för att dra sig undan, etiska radar
National Category
Humanities Pedagogy
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-28622 (URN)978-91-7063-510-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-27, Nyquistsalen 9C 203, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Swedish Research Council, 2004-1476
Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-08-12 Last updated: 2013-09-06Bibliographically approved

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