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Communicating emotions, embodying morality

A sociocultural perspective on affective and moral socialization in families and in early education


Asta Cekaite, VR, 2014-2019. 18 mlj.


The generative interest of the project is to study how children are socialized and develop affective, moral and communicative skills at the intersection of educational, and private spheres characterizing young children’s lives. Socializing children into emotionally appropriate and normatively/morally valued conduct is a significant part of adults’ (teachers’ and parents’) tasks responsibilities, reflecting the wider societal notions of sociality and personhood. Important to our understanding how these tasks can be accomplished is the social perspective on emotions and morality, according to which emotions not only have a physiological basis, but are also shaped by cultural norms, and involve a cluster of rights, and obligations by reference to social and moral standards of particular sociocultural settings. In this project, we adopt the socioculturally inspired theoretical framework, i.e., language socialization perspective (Ochs, 1988) that views socialization to use language and body as socialization into the cultural forms of life, achieved through participation in meaningful interactions.

The overall goal of the interdisciplinary program is, by taking into account the different sets of contexts and relationships involved (Swedish families, early education, peer group), provide a holistic, multi-faceted analysis of affective, moral, and communicative socialization of young children, including

  1. a systematic account of verbal and embodied practices for children’s affective socialization by examining how children, through participation in everyday interactions, learn to convey and interpret particular emotions;
  2. examination of situated practices for children’s moral socialization and moral personhood, uncovering the notions of morally valued personhood (vs. deviation from cultural norms);
  3. examination of children’s communicative development necessary for becoming a competent participant in various contexts of social interaction.

The project group will include researchers with expertise in a range of disciplines and research fields (social interaction, language, education, cultural psychology, anthropology). It also develops the ongoing collaboration with researchers from US and Japan.


Project duration: 2010-2014

Funder: Vetenskapsrådet (VR), Hum-Sam, Rambidrag för kulturforskning (HS-KulRam)

Contact person:

Anna Sparrman
+46 13 28 29 64




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About Child studies

Child Studies is an interdisciplinary research unit focusing on issues regarding children, childhood and family in history and society. Education in Child Studies: under graduate level, master level, graduate level (Ph.D).

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The objective for Tema - The Department of Thematic Studies is to pursue excellent research and education at undergraduate and advanced levels relevant to society.

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Last updated: Tue Mar 31 11:42:08 CEST 2015