ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 7 Issue 1 - August 31, 2013

Normality and Deviance in Norwegian Day-care Institutions

Karianne Franck

The main objective of the article is to explore day-care staff members’ discussions and reflections on children regarding normality and deviance. The article is based on interviews and fieldwork in four Norwegian day-care units. Attention is placed on everyday conversations and interview statements regarding children whose conduct and demeanour deviates from what is perceived as ‘normal’ in day-care centres. Analyses of the day-care staffs’ descriptions and reflections illustrate how their ways of reasoning relate to divergent discourses and understandings of children and childhood. The analysis illustrates how day-care staff members evaluate and define children as deviant within a discourse of age and development informed by policies and the use of standardized tests and evaluation materials. However, the article also emphasises how day-care staffs’ critical reflections on normality modify and question the knowledge and classification of children produced within such evaluations.