Resisting the consumentality of parents

Michel VANDENBROECK, Joanne LEHRER, Linda MITCHELL, Maarit ALASUUTARI, Marie-Laure CADART, Kirsti KARILA, Tullia MUSATTI, Pablo RUPIN, Wai Kwan Gail YUEN

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter analyses how the commodification of early childhood education and care (ECEC) has impacted the image of the parents, their role, and their relationship with early childhood professionals. The chapter begins with a close analysis of the cultural hegemony of what is called consumentality, a specific form of what Foucault labelled governmentality. Parents are increasingly viewed as responsible consumers, clients of early childhood providers, expected to make the best choice for their children. The chapter argues that there is no empirical basis to assume that parents can be critical consumers, nor any ethical or moral basis to assume that they should be. A major part of the chapter is devoted to documenting alternative views on the role of parents and their relationships with early childhood professionals. A first case presents the alliance of parents and professionals that was successful in challenging the voucher system in Hong Kong. A second case documents the history and the present state-of-the-art of the crèches parentales in France; childcare provision that is run and co-managed by local groups of parents, in collaboration with professionals, both in middle class and more low-income areas. The third case documents the community-based preschools in low-income suburbs of Chile that, just as the previous case, demonstrate co-constructions between parents and professionals in local communities, transforming early childhood provision into a powerful social agent. Finally, we explore the concept of gestione sociale that was developed in Italy after fascism and looked for ways to share educational responsibilities among private and public domains. Copyright © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Michel Vandenbroeck, Joanne Lehrer, and Linda Mitchell; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe decommodification of early childhood education and care: Resisting neoliberalism
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003218104
ISBN (Print)9781032110301
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Vandenbroeck, M., Lehrer, J., Mitchell, L., Alasuutari, M., Cadart, M.-L., Karila, K., . . . Yuen, G. (2023). Resisting the consumentality of parents. In M. Vandenbroeck, J. Lehrer, & L. Mitchell (Eds.), The decommodification of early childhood education and care: Resisting neoliberalism (pp. 81-146). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.


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