The First Choice: The Expansion of Preschool, its Marketization and Increased Importance for Families’ Educational Strategies

Participants: Esbjörn Larsson, Håkan Forsberg, Ida Lidegran, Jennifer Waddling, Johannes WestbergAndreas Alm Fjellborg 
Funding body: Swedish Research Council
Duration: 2018-2020

The conference Contemporary Perspectives on Preschools and Society»

The purpose of this project is to provide knowledge about the role of preschools for families’ educational strategies as well as the expansion and marketization of Swedish preschools from the 1980s onwards. Given that these aspects of the preschool have not been given proper attention in previous research the project will contribute with important new knowledge. The project is conducted within two different sub-studies. The first of these addresses how families choose preschool for their children while the other is studying the birth of a preschool market in which families make their choices. Fundamental to the study of these phenomena are the concepts strategy and market. The first sub-study has two different analytical inputs. In the first part a major statistical study is carried out, where differences in the choice of preschool are studied by examining the different compositions of assets held by the preschool children’s parents. The second part is a qualitatively oriented interview study regarding the choice of preschools. The second sub-study will in turn address the issue of preschool expansion and marketization. This is done through studies with particular focus on the period from the 1980s onwards. These investigate the political process and changes in the perception of the purpose of preschools as well as the actual impact of reforms.