Defence of thesis 31. January 2014 - Karianne Franck

Karianne Franck will defend the PhD degree at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norwegian Centre for Child Research.

The title of the thesis is:

"Constructions of children in-between normality and deviance in Norwegian day-care centres"

The Faculty for Social Sciences and Technology Management has appointed the following committee to evaluate the dissertation:

  • Professor Daniel Goodley, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Maarit Alasuutari, University of Jyväskylä
  • Professor II David Buckingham, NTNU

Professor II David Buckingham has also administered the committee's work.

The defence will be held at 12:30, Friday 31 January 2014 in auditorium D4, Dragvoll Campus.

The trial lecture will be held at 10:15, Friday 31 January 2014 in auditorium D9, Dragvoll Campus on the following topic:

"What are the respective contributions of Disability Studies and Childhood Studies to understanding the construction of ‘normality' and ‘disability' in day-care settings? How can these two perspectives inform each other and be brought together?"

Both the trial lecture and the defence are open to the public.

The work is supported by the Norwegian Centre for Child Research, NTNU. The candidate's supervisor has been Professor Randi Dyblie Nilsen.


This thesis is a contribution to critical reflection on how some children are constructed as deviating from what is considered ‘normal' in Norwegian day-care institutions (Norwegian—barnehage). In this study I focus on day-care staff members' concerns and suspicions of children possibly having special needs or impairments of some sort. I explore understandings and discourses related to constructions of children as ‘in-between'—meaning children positioned outside what is perceived as ‘normal' without being labelled by any other category—yet. The objective is to illustrate lines drawn between what is understood as ‘normal' and ‘deviant', and frames for understandings and evaluations of children constructed as deviating and positioned in-between. The thesis is situated in social studies of children and childhood and influenced by post-structural perspectives within disability studies. The study is based on interviews with 16 staff members and short-term participant observation in four Norwegian day-care institutions.

The thesis consists of three articles which explore and illustrate day-care staff member's descriptions and discussions in informal settings and interviews.

Article 1, "Normality and Deviance in Norwegian Day-care Institutions" illustrates how descriptions of deviance are related to a discourse of development and age, and connects this to the widespread use of mapping devices. The article highlights day-care staff members' critical reflections.

Article 2, "In-between competence. Adult expectations of children in Norwegian day-care centres" explores how day-care staff practices and evaluations of children are informed by a discourse of the competent child.

Article 3: "Excluding to include. Exploring a process of constructing children as impaired in the Norwegian day-care setting" discusses ways in which staff members construct some children as deviating and possibly impaired through their descriptions and statements.

The thesis is part of a project titled "Children with (dis)abilities: Practices and values in Norwegian day-care centres" funded by the Research Council of Norway, PRAKSISFOU.