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What is «Politics of belonging» about?

Who are we and what is the project really about? Our main research question is: "How do the politics of belonging emerge in the intersection between the macro-level politics and the daily lives of educators, other professionals, children, and parents in different educational settings?

  • This project promotes cross-over collaboration with educators, other professionals, children, and parents in early education settings and primary schools.
    This project promotes cross-over collaboration with educators, other professionals, children, and parents in early education settings and primary schools.
  • The rationale of the project lies in the societal changes confronted by many European countries.
    The rationale of the project lies in the societal changes confronted by many European countries.
  • Despite the growing interest in preventing children’s exclusion and enhancing their belonging, we know too little about how belonging is realized at grass root level in children’s, parents’, and educators’ daily lives
    Despite the growing interest in preventing children’s exclusion and enhancing their belonging, we know too little about how belonging is realized at grass root level in children’s, parents’, and educators’ daily lives.
  • We don't know how belonging is articulated in educational policies and embodied in educational practices.
    We don't know how belonging is articulated in educational policies and embodied in educational practices.
  • There is a need to develop practical tools through which to promote children’s belonging.
    There is a need to develop practical tools through which to promote children’s belonging.

In this project, belonging is approached as a multidimensional and power-loaded phenomenon that is constructed in the intersection between the macro-level politics and humans’ daily lives at the micro-level (Antonsich, 2010; Yuval-Davis, 2011). In all of the participating countries, the macro level politics highlight values connected with belonging (inclusion). At the same time, the politics of belonging operates at the grass-root level in educational settings.  This project led to questions on how children develop various communities and how educators can support or hinder these.

Strong team of researchers

The proposed project extends the study to the Netherlands and the areas of special and multicultural education. The researchers from Finland and the Netherlands have collaboration in the European COST LUDI -project, which is based on a multi-disciplinary cooperation between researchers and practitioners in many fields, such as psycho-pedagogical sciences, health and rehabilitation sciences, and assistive technologies. Each country has a strong team of researchers with an existing national and international network. The researchers will collaborate with international partners from Australia, Canada, and Sweden in different sub-studies of the project.

Aims and objectives

The aim of the project is to advance knowledge about the politics of belonging in the intersection between macro and micro levels in different educational settings. The specified objectives are to deepen theoretical understanding about the politics of belonging as a complex, multi-level, dynamic, and power-loaded phenomenon in education. And also to generate empirical knowledge about the politics of belonging in the intersection between the
macro and micro levels of education in different educational settings. Another aim is to develop recommendations for policy and practice based on the cross-over collaboration and knowledge sharing about the politics of belonging in different educational settings and across the participating countries and to provide practical tools for supporting the belonging of children, educators, and parents with different backgrounds and individual needs.