Towards a minor bilingualism : Exploring variations of language and literacy in early childhood education
Abstract: The aim of this compilation thesis is to explore variations in bilingualism with the help of everyday specific situations at a Spanish-Swedish early childhood institution in Sweden, and by means of a ‘material-semiotic theorizing’. This means that material and semiotic elements are treated equally and entwined. Through studying a bilingual preschool practice, theory and politics as three interwoven practices, the thesis produces knowledge on language and literacy as socially and materially divergent, transformative occurrences. The research process is a commitment with Deleuzio-Guattarian philosophy, theory and politics, and is defined as a becoming in and of the three practices (education, theory, politics). Ethical and methodological undertakings are described as results of the interaction of these practices. Processes of data production include a yearlong fieldwork with all year groups (1-5) at a bilingual preschool in Sweden with a Spanish-Swedish language policy. The materials of data (approx. 59 hours of video-recordings and additional field-notes of everyday activities) are extended and developed upon in interaction with theoretical concepts and political concerns in terms of an analytical process that ‘puts theory to work’. The results are phrased as three temporal suggestions: 1) Bilingualism is a plural, collectively produced, both transitory and specific phenomenon 2) Bilingualism emerges with different, simultaneous dimensions of language and literacy (language as both code and material intensities) 3) Bilingualism is shared and public but also private and inconclusive. The thesis also shows the interconnectedness and continuity between different constructions of bilingualism (i.e. separate – flexible, public - private) as well as the productivity of the unknown and of what is labelled as (il)literate expertise. The impact that these suggestions may have in working with bilingualism in early childhood education is discussed. At the same time the discussion inspires to thinking towards a minor bilingualism also in more general terms.
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