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Title: Challenging Taken-for-Granted Ideas in Early Childhood Education: A Critique of Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory in the Age of Post-humanism
Contributor(s): Elliott, Sue  (author); Davis, Julie (author)
Publication Date: 2019
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-51949-4_60-1
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Abstract: A significant theorist in the early childhood education field is Urie Bronfenbrenner who, in 1979, proposed his "ecological systems theory," sometimes referred to as the "ecological framework for human development." This theory offers a multidimensional systems model for understanding the influence of family through to economic and political structures; thus, it presents a way of understanding the human life course from early childhood through to adulthood. In this theory, the ecological framework enables the mapping of information about individuals and their contexts over time in order to understand their diverse systemic interconnections. A critique of this model, however, from a childhoodnature stance, is that it ignores consideration of human-nature interconnections. Thus, it is a deeply anthropocentric model of human development that is at odds with emergent post-humanist thinking that seeks to de-center the human condition. In this chapter, we argue that the pervasiveness of this human-centered systems approach works against sustainability, in that it reinforces the sociocultural, political, and economic dimensions of being human at the expense of environmental interconnections. Drawing on systems theory, post-humanist theory, new materialism, a critical lens to pedagogy, and new sociology of childhood, we propose alternative ways of approaching Bronfenbrenner's work that, both, facilitates human connections and strengthens children and nature connections that have implications for early childhood education philosophy and pedagogy.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Research Handbook on ChildhoodNature: Assemblages of Childhood and Nature Research, p. 1-36
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: Switzerland
ISBN: 9783319519494
Field of Research (FOR): 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130102 Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
930202 Teacher and Instructor Development
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Series Name: Springer International of Handbooks of Education
Editor: Editor(s): Amy Cutter-McKenzie, Karen Malone and Elisabeth Barratt Hacking
Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Education

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