Exploring Military Artefacts in Early Childhood Education: Conflicting Perspectives on Cultural Sustainability, Belonging and Protection
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBirkeland, Å., & Grindheim, L. T. (2021). Exploring Military Artefacts in Early Childhood Education: Conflicting Perspectives on Cultural Sustainability, Belonging and Protection. Sustainability, 13(5). 10.3390/su13052587
Social and cultural sustainability is outlined as creating surroundings that include and stimulate positive interactions, such as promoting a sense of community and a feeling of belonging to a community, by being safe and attached to the local area. Artefacts chosen in early childhood education (ECE) institutions are integrated parts of the culture in which the ECE institutions are embedded; artefacts, thus, are understood as serving belonging and cultural sustainability. The study examined what insight into cultural sustainability could be surfaced in conflicting perspectives about military artefacts in ECE. Focus group interviews were conducted with Chinese and Norwegian graduate students and ECE researchers, during which photographs of a Chinese kindergarten where military artefacts and toys were highly represented. Conflicting perspectives on military artefacts among the participant surfaced how belonging are closely intertwined with protection and where to belong: locally, nationally or internationally. The skeptical approach to military artefacts is challenged by awareness of different ways to promote national pride and entanglement among generations. The findings indicate a need for more research on conditions for belonging and the normative complexities of artefacts in cultural sustainability.