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Monday, 09 July 2012

New seminar series on the politics of early childhood

Seminar Series by the Research Centre for Children, Families and Communities

Dr Richard House, Roehampton University.

'The Emperors’ New Clothes and the Policy-makers: A Modernist Tale of Power, Ideology – and the Courage to “Speak Truth to Political Power” in the Early Years.'

In this seminar we will explore together the complexities and vicissitudes of policy-making in the early childhood sphere – or ‘the politics of early childhood’, as we might call it. Richard House will speak about his founding involvement with the Open EYE Campaign and with Early Childhood Action – what has motivated these campaigns; whether, and if so how, they have been successful (including media successes); and the impact they have had, and are having, in the field.

We will look in particular at the thorny question of principle and practice, and the extent to which it is ethically legitimate to compromise one’s professional principles on early childhood issues in order to retain the ‘ear’ and the approval of government and the political class. The motifs of ‘fearless speech’(Foucault) and ‘The Emperors’ New Clothes’ fairy tale will be drawn upon to question the path of expedient compliance that professionals and academics often feel forced to take. The notion of ‘Principled Non-compliance’ will also be introduced, being one (albeit controversial) strategy for professionals managing the impossible contradictory positions into which some government legislation places them – with the often distressing ‘cognitive dissonance’ that accompanies such ‘impossible’ positionings.

Richard House Ph.D., C.Psychol. is Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton.  His books include Too Much, Too Soon? – Early Learning and the Erosion of Childhood (Hawthorn Press, 2011) and Childhood, Well-being and a Therapeutic Ethos (co-editor Del Loewenthal, Karnac, 2009). A founder-member of ‘Open EYE’, Early Childhood Action and the new Save Childhood Movement, Richard is a ‘childhood activist’ who contributes regularly to the professional education and academic psychotherapy literatures, and is often in the media. A trained Steiner/Waldorf Kindergarten teacher who practised professionally between 1998 and 2006, he organised the three Daily Telegraph Open Letters on the state of modern childhood in 2006, 2007 (with Sue Palmer) and in 2011. He is Editor of the journal Self and Society: International Journal of Humanistic Psychology. From September Richard will be Senior Lecturer in Education (Early Childhood) at the University of Winchester. 

Please note these seminars are for staff, students and associate members of the Research Centre for Children Families and Communities.

If you are interested in becoming an associate member please contact Charmian Cowie on 01227 782766.

This event is open to the public.

Venue: Canterbury, Jg07
Time: 11:00

Contact: Charmian Cowie (email)
Telephone: 01227 782766

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