Engaging and negotiating emotions in early childhood teaching : towards creative critique and experimentation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis draws on the ideas of Deleuze and Guattari to investigate the research question: How are emotions and ways of becoming shaped in early childhood teaching? Emotions, love, caring, and professionalism are entangled in early childhood teaching, and are topics that are insufficiently addressed in official guidance and regulation documents and in the research literature. This study engages with data from early childhood teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand to negotiate understandings of emotions, teachers, and teaching within posthumanist perspectives. Emotions are theorised in this thesis as registrations of effects of affective flows in assembled relationships that can be partially articulated in language and partially experienced and expressed in changes to bodies. Some aspects of emotions elude both these ways of expression and are framed within Deleuze’s concept of sense as an incorporeal effect hovering on the frontier between language and things. Data from focus group discussions with early childhood teachers were analysed using Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of rhizomatic assemblage, desiring-machine, affect, and desire. Affective flows were mapped and these maps were plugged into tracings of dense webs of professional expectations. Vignettes from two early childhood teachers were analysed using a tracing-and-mapping approach linked with a complex cartography employing Deleuze’s concepts of sense, event, paradox, and problems. Research findings indicate that when emotions are understood in Deleuzo-Guattarian terms, this provides a more nuanced, complex view than naming specific emotions. Negotiations of emotions and ways of becoming in early childhood teaching occur as counter-actualisations of problematic events that recur and are responded to in unique and localised ways that offer opportunities for creative experimentation.