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Affectionate touch and care: embodied intimacy, compassion and control in early childhood education
Child studies, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. SALVE (Social challenges, Actors, Living conditions, reseach VEnue). Department of Teacher Training, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6357-6491
2018 (English)In: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, ISSN 1350-293X, E-ISSN 1752-1807, Vol. 26, no 6, p. 940-955Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Relational care, interpersonal intimacy and emotional attunement are crucial for children's development and wellbeing in ECEC. The present study examines how they are enacted in a Swedish preschool (for 1-5-year-olds) through recurrent adult-child physical conduct, i.e. affectionate and affectionate-controlling touch. The data consist of 24 hours of video-recorded observations of everyday activities. The study shows that educators' Affectionate-Comforting touch was used for emotion regulation as compassionate response to children's distress; Amicable touch engaged children in spontaneous affection; and, Affectionate-Controlling touch was used to mildly control and direct the child's bodily conduct and participation in preschool activities, or to mitigate the educators' verbal disciplining. The study demonstrates the emotional complexity of ECEC enacted through the practices of haptic sociality. It supports the holistic policies arguing that embodied relational care should be integrated in ECEC, contrary to ideas that connect professionalism with emotional distance and lack of physical contact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018. Vol. 26, no 6, p. 940-955
Keywords [en]
Early childhood education, touch, relational care, intimacy, compassion
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41984DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2018.1533710ISI: 000450458000009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85056081334OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-41984DiVA, id: diva2:1261214
Available from: 2018-11-06 Created: 2018-11-06 Last updated: 2019-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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