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Låt barnen komma till oss: Förskollärarna och kampen om småbarnsinstitutionerna 1854-1968
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
1996 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to investigate how child care has changed and developed in a social and historical perspective. Its aim is also to ascertain what different roles were played by different professional groups, local government and state authorities in the struggle for the institutions for  young children. In this context, two professional groups are of interest, namely kindergarten/pre-school teachers and staff of the crèches. The empirical material spans the period from 1854 until 1968, i.e. it dates from the starting point for the first crèche until the date when a government decision stipulated that the day nursery sector should be extended. The empirical material comprises the archives of the authorities, the archives of the pre-school body, periodicals etc.. I have found that the institutionalized care provided for the children of workers in the crèches was controlled by the bourgeois view of life and that its activities had an obvious hallmark of poor relief or social welfare. The staff of the crèches were supervised by bourgeois men and women who, in different ways, preserved class disticntions. The professional identity of the staff of the crèches was diffuse and their status was affetcted by the low status of their clients and they never achieved any professional success. The kindergartens were established and supervised by bourgeois women. They possessed considerable cultural capital which they could employ to keep up their activities at the kindergartens and teacher training establishments. The kindergartens were educational in nature and were directed, to a great extent, towards the children of the bourgeoisie. When the government began to become involved in the institutions for young children at the end of the 1930s it granted ideological support to the concept of half-day care, whereas the crèches, which by this time had changed their name to day nurseries, were considered a temporary solution to immediate child-minding problems. Thus the pre-school sector was expanded and the day nurseries were criticized as they represented a threat to the mother-child relationship. The supervisory body, the National Board of Health and Welfare, was a keen advocate of half-day care and considered its task to be that of defending the nuclear family. In the beginning of the 1960s, following the demands made from the forces of the labour market, a complete reversal of policy was brought about by the government and thus they gave priority to the day nurseries. Pre-school teachers eventually became the most prominent staff group within the day nurseries. However, they lost their autonomy by being integrated into the male-dominated state and bureaucratic structures and trade unions. Thus the pre-school teachers found themselves in subordinated positions. Problems related to gender limited the professional successes of this teaching body. Child care issues have also been influenced, to a great degree, by the prevailing class structure. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1996. , 336 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 41
Keyword [en]
Crèche, kindergarten, nursery, pre-school, kindergarten teacher, pre-school teacher, gender, class, profession and welfare state
National Category
History of Ideas Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-16580ISBN: 91-7191-173-1OAI: diva2:156253
Public defence
1996-05-24, Humanisthuset, Hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2007-10-07 Created: 2007-10-07 Last updated: 2013-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Holmlund, Kerstin
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