Assembled policies: The Finnish case of restricted entitlement to early childhood education and care


  • Maiju Paananen Tampere University, Finland
  • Anu Kuukka University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Maarit Alasuutari University of Jyväskylä, Finland


early childhood education, childcare, policy, assemblage


In this article, we utilize an application of Deleuze and Quattari’s (1987) concept of assemblage to explore and better understand the interconnectedness and materiality of the policies of early childhood education and care (ECEC). To exemplify how directing our focus to assemblages can further the understanding of policies in the everyday life of families, we will present a Finnish case of entitlement to ECEC. Since 1996, children under school age have enjoyed the entitlement to full-day ECEC provided by local authorities. In 2016, the Finnish parliament enforced new legislation that allows municipalities to limit this entitlement to 20 hours per week unless the child’s parents work or study full-time. By drawing on interviews with parents of one-year-old children (n=14), we will illuminate the component parts of ECEC arrangements. The case offers empirical insights in terms of how constructing ECEC policies as “assembled” can aid us in contesting two beliefs that have a firm position in the public debate: the idea of the parent’s “free choice” and the notion of national policies having a hegemonic role in determining opportunities for agency.