Fast Childcare in Public Preschools presents an ethnographic examination of the implementation of fast-policy management models and the efforts of teachers to use these to improve their work organization, and the frictions this brings. Using examples from Swedish public preschools, the book focuses on essential areas of the Lean management model in particular, bringing to life concepts relating to the care and education of children. The book draws on international childcare policy and public reforms, exploring the assignments that preschools are set and argues that separating the pedagogical and the organizational as suggested by proponents of management models is not possible.
This book considers Jamie Peck and Nik Theodore’s work on ‘fast policy’ and ‘model power’ and analyzes the tensions between the easy-to-use and difficult-to-use in management models. The model form of Lean’s management model rendered it difficult to align with existing childcare policy, pedagogical models, and the organization of a preschool. The book explores the utopian dimension of a modern project in pursuit of efficiency and speed in relation to the Lean model and the preschool teachers’ work, by asking, ‘what are the wider societal implications of the Lean project in preschools?’
Fast Childcare in Public Preschools will be of great interest to cultural anthropologists, qualitative sociologists and political scientists, and organizational researchers interested in the anthropology of policy.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction
The Lean Management Model in Preschools
Chapter 2 Words
The Policy Words of Preschools and Management Models
Chapter 3 Meetings
Lean Meetings and Preschool Circle Time
Chapter 4 Colour
Colours at Work in Play and in Management
Chapter 5 Flow
Eliminating Waste along the Assembly Line
Chapter 6 Plan
Hoping for an Efficient Future
Chapter 7 Conclusion
The Utopia of Efficiency
Renita Thedvall is Associate Professor in Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research is based in the field of policy and organizational anthropology, with special focus on the anthropology of bureaucracy and the state. She has explored these issues in various field sites from the EU to preschools. She has a particular interest in meetings, a topic she has investigated together with Jen Sandler through an edited volume, Meeting Ethnography (2017, Routledge).