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Babyworlds - an ethnographic study of the everyday culture of babies

Background to the project

The interest in baby culture in society is big considering all the cultural activities that are offered families with babies in most larger cities in Sweden. Examples of baby culture can range from more organized activities like baby theatre or baby dance, to less organized activities like the library putting out the masquerade costumes on Saturdays or arrange singing for babies in the afternoon, but also, all that more or less is happening at home with everything from Ipads, pointing books and good night lullabies. Babies today, are involved in, and are using culture in many and varying forms. 

Babyworlds is a dissertation project in child studies at the department of Thematic studies at Linköpings University with the aim of exploring how children 0-1 year old use, and engage in, cultural objects and phenomena in their everyday life. In the project, I am interested in exploring how culture becomes visible in babies lives and what babies do with culture.

The project explores questions like:

What kinds of culture do babies come in contact with in their everyday life?

What kinds of culture are babies interested in?

How do babies use cultural objects and how does babies engage in cultural activities or phenomena?

How do babies relate to expectations concerning how to use cultural objects or engage in cultural activities or phenomena?

Why is it important to research babies and culture?

Researching how children between 0-1 year old use and engage in culture is an important research question because it helps us understand what it means to be a baby in today’s society through exploring a common and much-disputed phenomena in babies everyday life. Through focusing on the babies own experiences and interaction with culture this study aims to contribute to a discussion concerning how we can understand and talk about the role of culture in relation to children’s own experiences of it.

Most research on babies in this age group have been carried out from psychological, medical and educational perspectives and there are few examples of research about 0-1 year olds from cultural perspectives. At the same time, is so called baby culture something that is organized, used and consumed out in the society and are the babies involved the target group for these activities. Culture is also going on in the everyday life where babies meet varied forms of cultural objects, activities and ideas, some of them meant for them, some of them not. 

In this project, I also want to ask important questions about how children are included in research and what it means to talk about children’s voice, children’s participation, and children’s perspective. How can these concepts relate to research about babies’ first year of life? How can we understand and talk about their participation, perspective, or voice?


In the project I will follow babies between 0-1 year old and their families in their everyday life. The project has an ethnographic approach and I will be conducting observations and interviews both in the homes of the families and during activities outside the home – like café visits, visits at open daycare, or BVC. I will be video recording during the time I spend with the family and complement that with taking pictures and making field notes.

Contact information

My name is Alex Elin Orrmalm Auran and I will be the one conducting the research. I work as a PhD student in child studies at the department for Thematic studies since 2014. My supervisors name is Anna Sparrman and she is a professor at child studies at the department for Thematic studies. Here you can find contact information for both of us and links to our home pages.

If you are interested in participating in the project or have any questions you can reach me on email or phone!


Alex Elin Orrmalm Auran

Department of Thematic Studies – Child Studies

Linköpings University


013-28 13 05



Anna Sparrman

Department of Thematic Studies – Child Studies

Linköpings Universitet

581 83 Linköping


013-28 29 64











PH.D. Student

Telephone: 013-28 13 05
Fax: 013-28 29 00

E-mail: alex.orrmalm.auran@liu.se

Department of Thematic Studies -
Child Studies
Linköping university
SE-581 83 Linköping


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).

About Tema

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

Child Studies
Gender Studies
Technology and social change
Environmental Change

Page manager: alex.orrmalm.auran@liu.se
Last updated: Mon Oct 17 08:09:09 CEST 2016