A mobilisation of motherhood, babyhood and childhood sensing pasts: Life diaries as creative and speculative force of experimentation

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In recent years, the theoretical lens of new materialism(s) and surge in feminist thinking has opened up new ways of understanding the complexities of motherhood, babyhood and early childhood. This surge in post-qualitative and feminist inquiry towards the troubling of dominant early childhood abstractions and norms, as well as resistance to human-centric perspectives offers new possibilities to engage both ethically and politically in an affirmative exploration of motherhoods, babyhoods and early childhoods. Through communicating the methodological nuances in two early childhood physical spaces this article is a (re)assembling of the fibrous, slippery and friable fragments of an earlier inquiry. The first of these spaces was a baby room in an Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) setting in the United Kingdom (UK), and the second was Higher Education (HE) Undergraduate (UG) Early Childhood Studies (ECS) teaching and learning environments, again in the UK. There were also a number of virtual, past and present, material, ephemeral and ethereal research sites that seem disparate, yet connected. The transversal methodology held bodies in the middle of the research, allowing things to creep in and creep out. A mobilisation of motherhood, babyhood and childhood sensing pasts produced neologisms, such as mothersick, Bowlb(arbar)ian and (gh)host(ile)(ly) which conjure transversality and spacetimemattering in all that I do in the HE ECS classroom and ECEC environments. Memories, histories and (her)stories – severed encounters shared and assembled. Cuts that brought pain to the surface(s) and bodies become ambiguous, unnerving, raw and exposed. Through the article, it is argued, powerful psychological developmental theories that reverberate through human and nonhuman bodies haunt student and pedagogue bodily knowledges and histories. It is suggested that ethically, HE pedagogues have a duty of care to think beyond the immediate teaching and learning classroom and consider how we touch the lives of UG ECS students, in unknown but often imperceptible and sensed ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-573
Number of pages15
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • assemblages
  • early childhood
  • feminism
  • intricacies
  • new materialism
  • posthuman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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