Den välreglerade friheten: att konstruera det lekande barnet

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The purpose of the thesis is to shed light on pre-school as an arena for governmentality, where play is a tool for governing the child. The study focuses what in play-situations may become an object of governance and what techniques the teachers use to govern the children when they play. The theoretical framework is the work of Foucault and his perspective on power and knowledge. The empirical study took place in pre-schools with altogether four groups of children. Data consist of play-situations with 1-6 year old children, with a focus on children between 4 and 6 years of age. The play situations were observed and recorded with a video camera. The results of the study make visible how governing is active in play, and some of the technologies necessary for the governing are pointed out. The object of governance can be described through three themes: that children play, what children play and how children play. In each of these themes the children are being steered away from something considered not to be desirable towards something else, seen as desirable. To perform the regulatory work teachers use different techniques such as supervision, normalisation and pastoral techniques that create kindness and well-being among those governed. In conclusion it is argued that play, generally considered as a possibility for children freely to express themselves, should rather be understood as a well regulated activity in order to construct a future child with certain future competencies.


  • Charlotte Tullgren
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences


  • play, Pedagogy, pre-school, child, childhood, power, governmentality, Pedagogy and didactics, Pedagogik, didaktik
Translated title of the contributionThe well-regulated freedom: Constructing the playing child
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Feb 6
  • Lärarutbildningen, Malmö högskola
Print ISBNs91-85042-07-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-02-06 Time: 10:15 Place: Högskolan Kristianstad, room 7-318. External reviewer(s) Name: Krüger, Thorolf Title: [unknown] Affiliation: [unknown] ---

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