Deconstructing professionalism in the early childhood education: resisting the regulatory gaze

Osgood, Jayne ORCID logoORCID: (2006) Deconstructing professionalism in the early childhood education: resisting the regulatory gaze. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 7 (1) . pp. 5-14. ISSN 1463-9491 [Article] (doi:10.2304/ciec.2006.7.1.5)


The aim of this article is to problematise the dominant construction of ‘professionalism’ as created and promoted by the United Kingdom Government through policy. Like other professionals working in education, early years practitioners are subjected to a disempowering, regulatory gaze in the name of higher standards. The preoccupation with satisfying dominant and externally imposed constructions of professionalism leaves little time to engage in meaningful critiques of the status quo, and as a consequence of social engineering those working in the early years become constrained by demands for technicist practice. The discourse of rationality is deconstructed to reveal that through its dominance and perpetuation early years practitioners are regulated and controlled in their attempts to satisfy the demands for performativity and technicist practice. This article draws upon and is framed by the work of Foucault, in particular his concern with ‘disciplinary technologies' that produce docile bodies as objects that yield to the discourse, and his focus upon rules that govern the discourse — in this case the discourse professionalism. The article concludes with a discussion of the vital and important role that agency plays and it is argued that practitioners are not passively shaped by social structure but that they are active in challenging, negotiating and reforming the discourses through which they are positioned and defined and therein lies the possibility for resisting the regulatory gaze.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 17878
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Depositing User: Kristina Repova
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2015 09:29
Last Modified: 22 May 2019 09:57

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