20202020

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Personal profile

Overview

 

I am a Postgraduate Research Student at the University of the West of Scotland, I received an MSc with Merit in Social Science Research Methods (Sociology) from the University of Bristol. My undergraduate degree is a First Class BA (Hons) Education: Early Years from Bath Spa University. I am a former early years practitioner and have a  background in a range of nurseries. Most recently, I was a family support worker for a children’s centre in central Bristol.

I previously oversaw the Bristol Men in Early Years Network, am part of the Steering Group for the ESRC funded study ‘Gender Diversification in Early Years Education’ (GenderEYE.org), and the MITEYUK.org project. I am a Trustee for Early Education, I co-convene the SERA Early Years Network and write independently at CriticalEarlyYears.org.

Current research activities

My research is provisionally titled: 'Heteronormativity in Early Childhood: Identifying how heteronormative practices are maintained, constrained, and can be disrupted in early childhood in Scotland, UK'.

Heteronormativity is a concept used to critique the hegemonic status of heterosexuality as a taken for granted, ‘natural’, and unquestionable norm. In recent decades a number of studies have provided important insight into what heteronormativity is and how it is experienced (Blaise, 2005; Robinson, 2013). These have tended to emphasise gender and sexuality as discursively constituted, and socially constructed phenomena, as evidenced in research focusing on children’s role-play games (Robinson and Diaz, 2006); marriage and family-play games (Blaise, 2005; Taylor and Richardson, 2005); and through ECEC practitioners (Gunn, 2008) as well as parents experiences (Gansen, 2017).

Yet, despite the wealth of literature on heteronormative practices in ECEC settings, recent studies show LGBT+ inequalities still exist, and are persisting (Equality Network, 2015; TIE, 2016). My research seeks to build on previous intellectual gains made during the poststructuralist turn and apply a sociomaterialist proposal toward heteronormativity and children’s play, drawing on data analysis from an ECEC setting in Scotland, UK. This prompts a manoeuvre away from understandings of childhood as a purely social phenomenon, and of heteronormativity as a stable and atemporal concept, towards rethinking childhood in terms of relational ontologies. This embraces a more expansive terrain where childhood experiences are comprised as much from non-human materialities as they are from human social interaction (Fox and Alldred, 2018; Olsson, 2009).

In resituating ontological concerns, heteronormativity is (re)conceived as a mobile assemblage of social and material meaning and practices (Hook and  Wolfe, 2018), no longer simply an abstract signifier but an act in itself capable of capturing the material-semiotic event. Such a move, I argue,  may provide valuable insight into how we might better understand how heteronormative practices serve to perpetuate discrimination against LGBT+ people.

External positions

Co-convener, SERA Early Years Network

Jan 2019 → …

Trustee , Early Education

Dec 2018 → …

Steering Group , Gender EYE (Gender Diversification in Early Years Education: Recruitment, Support and Retention

Oct 2018 → …

Steering group , MITEY Project (Fatherhood Institute)

Oct 2018 → …

Keywords

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • L Education (General)
  • Early Childhood

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Research Output