Farquhar, Sandy, Ricoeur, Identity and Early Childhood, (Rowman and Littlefield) 2010

Early childhood education in Western society has come under increasing scrutiny by governments that see early education as an important factor in economic growth and development. Thus, social traditions in the field are increasingly giving way to an intensified focus on marketization and regulation, but with a corresponding diminishing concern for ethics and social participation. Drawing on the work of contemporary French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, Sandy Farquhar analyzes the problematic way in which we become who we are and the discourse that surrounds that learning. The book explores the ethical basis of identity formation in early childhood education and seeks fresh alternatives to commonly accepted perspectives on social policy, education, and the nature of our 'selves.' Farquhar uses Aotearoa New Zealand bicultural curriculum and policy context as examples for developing the theme of curriculum as a contest of ideas and a powerful form of resistance. Promoting the importance of narrative in understanding identity formation, the book elaborates on contemporary themes of difference, ethics, and social justice, calling for a revitalized sense of liberalism and social democracy.

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