Men in Early Childhood and Care – Can They Contribute to Professionalisation Processes in Early Childhood Education and Help to Rethink Theoretical Dimensions of Care Work?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Jens KRABEL, Coordination office "Men in Early Childhood and Care" c/o Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Maria Teresa MARTIN PALOMO, Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain
In this paper the authors discuss theoretical and practical dimensions of care work in the professional context of early childhood education and care (ECEC). They start from a theoretical consideration of the complexities of care work, exploring these from an angle that includes the material and emotional as well as the moral dimensions and their respective interconnections. Secondly, they reflect – on the basis of experiences and research results gleaned with the German model programme “More Men in ECEC”, carried out from 2011 to 2013 – on the fact that male participation in ECEC, as well as their approach to care practices, are contributing to a reconfiguration of the ECEC work profession. However there are no easy ways to professionalize care work; all possible avenues present challenges such as differences in terms of the capacity to manage time or emotions according to gender-specific behaviour and social expectations. What initially appeared as a gender equality challenge in gender-mixed ECEC teams has gradually been reconfigured as a problem of professionalization of a certain type of work that involves many difficulties but also many opportunities in relation to its professionalization, among others the chance to rethink a long disputed analytical category: work.