Social Sustainability in Swedish Multicultural Preschools


  • Åsa Olsson Karlstad University, Sweden


Although principals in Swedish preschools treasure cultural diversity and multilingualism, diversity also involves challenges to preschool staff. They may find themselves in a position where there is no way of cooperating with parents, as prescribed in the preschool curriculum, without counteracting preschools’ fundamental values. These values concern promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality and diversity – fundamental social sustainability goals. The aim of this study is to identify and analyse dilemmas that may occur in Swedish multicultural preschools when teachers strive to live up to fundamental values in the preschool curriculum. In the study, 14 preschool principals were interviewed in focus groups. The results were analysed through the theoretical concept ‘dilemmatic spaces’ (Honig, 1996). Dilemmatic spaces suggest that dilemmas are ever-present in a particular setting, such as preschools, and that this shifts the responsibility for a challenging situation from the individual to a structural level. The framework has been further developed by Fransson and Grannäs (2013), who claim that it is particularly appropriate for analysing teachers’ daily practise. This article presents dilemmas that may arise when preschool staff working in multicultural preschools strive to uphold fundamental values stipulated in the curriculum.

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Hvordan referere

Olsson, Åsa. (2023). Social Sustainability in Swedish Multicultural Preschools. Nordisk barnehageforskning, 20(3), 185–202.

Emneord (Nøkkelord):

dilemmatic space, diversity, preschool, social sustainability