Power and Emotion in Infant-Toddler Day Care
Robin Lynn Leavitt presents in a provocative ethnography the lived experiences of infants and toddlers in day care centers. This text speaks to researchers and instructors interested in infancy, early childhood socialization, child care, and interpretive research. Leavitt’s original application of multiple theoretical perspectives—interpretive, interactionist, critical, feminist, and postmodern— yields powerful insights into the problematic emotional experiences and relations between infants and their caregivers.
The day care center is described as an institution that imposes a temporal and spatial regime on the lives of infants and toddlers. Vivid descriptions illustrate how caregivers create problematic situations for the children as they exercise unyielding power in the rigid management and control of the daily routines and play of children. As Leavitt documents the experiences of our youngest children, she engages in a philosophical exploration of the meanings of emotionally responsive, empowering care in group settings. Her analysis points to the need to care for caregivers, and for caregiving to become a self-reflective activity.
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