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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.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6357-6491
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Relational care, interpersonal intimacy and emotional attunement are crucial for children’s development and wellbeing in ECEC. This study examines how they are enacted in a Swedish preschool (1 to 5-year-olds) through recurrent adult-child touch. Research shows that tactile caregiver – child contact is essential for development and wellbeing. However studies on touch in preschools are scarce. Theories on care, intimacy and embodiment inform the study. Care implies to protect, nurture and train. It is relational, depending on the one-caring as well as the cared-for (Nodding). The study is informed by theories of care and sociocultural perspectives. It is based on video-ethnography (35 hours) of naturally occurring preschool activities. Data were coded into: teacher – child touch and functions of touch. Written consent was obtained from parents and teachers. The person video-recording was sensitive to children’s reactions, and stopped when there were signs of discomfort. 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. Affectionate-Controlling touches mildly controlled and directed the child’s participation in preschool activities, or mitigated verbal disciplining. They were instrumental as compassionate acts that sustained positive relations in potentially challenging situations. The study supports the holistic policies arguing that embodied relational care should be integrated in ECEC, since they provide a fruitful connection between intimacy based social relations children experience in families, and in early childhood education, in contrast to ideas that connect professionalism with emotional distance and lack of physical contact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018. no 6
Keywords [en]
early childhood education, relational care, educator-child touch, intimacy, compassion
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-42595OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-42595DiVA, id: diva2:1277899
Conference
28th EECERA Annual Conference, ‘Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities’, Budapest, Hungary, 28th – 31st August 2018
Available from: 2019-01-11 Created: 2019-01-11 Last updated: 2019-01-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf