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Title:Infant-toddler day care: Personal troubles/public issues
Author(s):Leavitt, Robin Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Denzin, Norman K.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Theory and Methods
Education, Early Childhood
Abstract:This project is an interpretive, ethnographic investigation of the lived experiences of infants and toddlers in day care centers, specifically as these experiences are problematic related to power and emotion. It is also a philosophical exploration of the meanings of emotionally responsive, empowering care in group settings. In the process of setting forth an account of problematic experience, and in imagining more positive experience, multiple theoretical perspectives--interpretive, interactionist, critical, feminist and postmodern--have been engaged.
The day care center is described as an institution which imposes a temporal and spatial regime on the lives of infants and toddlers. Field notes illustrate how caregivers create problematic situations for the children as they exercise unyielding power in the rigid management of daily routines, and control children's play. Children's attempts to resist the caregivers' power are often undermined; children have no choice but to be docile and accepting of the caregivers' authority.
Field notes also show how the exercise of power occurs in an impoverished emotional setting, where children are objectified and stripped of their child selves. These problematic situations emerge as child care, for the caregivers, involves alienated emotional labor. It is contended that these epiphanic moments profoundly and negatively affect these children's present and future lives.
Three themes of responsive caregiving are elaborated: understanding and appreciating the child, reciprocity, and empathy. A picture is constructed for the reader with the presentation of field notes. Some ways in which center-based day care might be organized so as to support emotionally responsive empowering caregiving are also suggested.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Leavitt, Robin Lynn
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210884
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210884

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