Excerpted from abstract
In this paper I argue for a necessary – and possible – paradigmatic shift in early childhood scholarship that embraces multiplicity, diversity, ambiguity, uncertainty and shared situated knowledge creation in resonse to a profoundly changed global context. The contours of the new paradigm are already emerging as three interconnected fields of tension: First, the increasing recognition, by some international actors, of the complexity and systemic characteristic of early childhood education – contradicted by the persistent promotion of decontextualised approaches by others including OECD. Second, a blurring of boundaries between the Global South and North, in the context of rising inequality within countries. Third, the inability of dominant theories of early childhood education, grounded in disciplinary traditions from outside the field, to conceptualise present experiences and future directions. In conclusion I argue for the need and possibility of a trans-discipline of early childhood with profound implications for comparative work in the field.