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Commodification and care: An exploration of workforces’ experiences of care in private and public childcare systems from a feminist political theory of care perspective

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Richardson, B.
Publication Date: 
12 Apr 2021

Excerpted from abstract 

Drawing on feminist care ethics and political theory (Engster and Hamington, 2015; Held, 2006; Noddings, 2015; Tronto, 2013), this paper examines how educators working in private (Ontario) and public (Denmark) childcare systems think about and practice care. Through interviews with pedagogues (Denmark) and early childhood educators (Ontario), linkages between the public/private positioning of care and the care experiences of educators are explored. The findings reveal differences in how educators think about and practice care in public and private systems. At the same time, notable similarities emerged in how educators resisted neoliberal system requirements. The findings illustrate the complexities of connecting good care practices to the systemic level without diminishing the importance of individual human agency in experiencing/practicing good care in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). Findings suggest that good care and commodification are both theoretically and practically at odds with each other, though neither absolutely precludes the other. Implications for policy makers, particularly relevant in the contemporary COVID context, are discussed.