Neoliberalism, global poverty policy and early childhood education and care: a critique of local uptake in England

Donald Simpson, Eunice Lumsden, Rory McDowell Clark

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The global rise of a neoliberal ‘new politics of parenting’ discursively constructs parents in poverty as the reason for, and remedy to, child poverty. This allows for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) to become a key policy lever by using human technologies to intervene in and regulate the lives of parents and children in poverty. The article explores the uptake of this policy locally through interviews with 30 ECEC practitioners in three locations across England. The interviews suggested that the neoliberal discursive formation of child poverty as a problem of the poor themselves had symbolic power and was a view shared by most of the interviewees. This appeared to restrict their thinking and action, shaping a limited engagement with parents in poverty. Delivering curricular requirements was seen to further delimit practitioners’ practices with children in poverty by reducing their poverty sensitivity. Although this is a small study, its findings may be of value in questioning neoliberal logics, and their implications are considered critically.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)96-109
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Years: An International Research Journal
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Child poverty
  • early years
  • neoliberalism
  • practitioners’ perspectives

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