Tensions in constructions of quality in Australian early childhood education and care policy history

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In pronouncements of early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy the importance of quality appears as a seemingly irrefutable concept. Yet, attention to ECEC policy history reveals tensions between discourses that construct quality in ways that endure whereas other ways are ostensibly forgotten. Drawing on a Foucauldian-influenced post-structuralist framework this article problematises three prominent discourses – of community, markets and investment – that construct quality in diverse ways across 40 or so years of Australian ECEC policy history. Data are drawn from key government policy documents and interviews with influential policy actors engaged in policymaking circles between 1972 and 2009. Utilising Bacchi’s ‘what’s the problem represented to be?’ approach to policy analysis reveals tensions between prominent discourses that identify instances of policy forgetting as important sites for policy learning. The article argues that examinations of policy history provide valuable insights about complex explanations of quality in contemporary ECEC policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-518
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017

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