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Bildskapande: en del av förskolebarns kamratkulturer
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Making Pictures : a Part of Preschool Children's Peer Cultures (English)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of the study is to investigate how children act and make meaning in art activities in the Swedish preschool. The study is a contribution to the new social studies of childhood. Children are seen as active participants in the construction and reconstruction of society. Pictures are understood as both culturally and socially produced. They are made in social contexts and earlier pictures are used as raw material.

The investigation has an ethnographical approach and two preschools were visited for five weeks each. In all 36 children aged four to six years participated. Data were gathered through participant observations and comprise 37 hours of videotaped art activities, videotaped informal interviews, field notes and documented pictures. Both teacher-guided and unsolicited activities were observed, but in both cases the children's meaning making was in focus.

The analyses show that the children use a wide range of pictorial genres. The pictures are produced in dialogue with other pictures: primarily pictures produced by other children, but also the staff's pedagogical illustrations and media pictures. The art activities have different purposes such as exploration of materials, making narrative accounts or producing pictures needed in fantasy play. The production of pictures is connected in several ways to the children's play projects. Girls and boys produce largely different pictures - making pictures could be seen as a way of doing gender.

Aesthetic purposes seem to be important to the children. They prefer perfectly shaped forms and use a variety of strategies to accomplish such pictures. The admiration of perfect forms could be understood in relation to children's positions in the society. The social category 'child' is constructed in relation to adults and understood as a deficiency in size, age and abilities. There is a strong positive value connected to growing older and being 'big'. The use of methods that allow one to produce pictures similar to those that older children or adults can produce is one way of appearing as 'big' and competent.

One paradox is that the methods used to make pictures attractive in the children's eyes make them less valuable in adults' eyes. Copying or using templates goes against central values that traditionally have dominated art pedagogy, where authenticity is valued and thought of as originating from the individual artist (or child). This contradiction is connected to another contradiction concerning individualism and collectivism. While adults often think of art activities as individual, the children mostly engage in art activities collectively. They sit together with other children when making pictures, they interact with each other during the activities and they produce similar pictures. The children's picture production is part of their peer cultures, and they share and practice what could be understood as their own pictorial cultures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2005. , 227 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 315
Keyword [en]
Peer culture, art activities, pictorial genres, preschool, ethnography, interaction, gender identity
Keyword [sv]
Förskolebarn, bilder, barnteckning, Sverige
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-4882ISBN: 91-85297-63-1OAI: diva2:20796
Public defence
2005-04-22, Hörsal 1, Key, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2005-05-10 Created: 2005-05-10 Last updated: 2014-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Änggård, Eva
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