Node-ified Ethics: Contesting Codified Ethics as Unethical in ECEC in Ontario




In this conceptual article, I argue that there is a difference between codified ethics and the ethical. I begin by situating code of ethics in the broader professionalization movement in early childhood education. Drawing upon Gunilla Dahlberg and Peter Moss (2005), I discuss the dematerialization of early childhood educators (ECEs) and the instrumentalization of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ontario through the implementation of the Code of Ethics by the College of Early Childhood Education ( 2017). Thinking with Eve Tuck’s (2018) question of “How shall we live?” (p. 157), I take up a critical invitation from Sharon Todd (2003) to consider how codified ethics in education may be rethought “as a relation across difference” (p. 2). I work conceptually with the imagery of nodes from the film Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera (2008) as an aesthetic device to examine the effect of codified ethics on ECEs. Finally, in conversation with Joanna Zylinska (2014) and Tim Ingold (2011), I re-frame instrumentalized nodes/codes of ethics within the complexity of knots and meshworks to recover the ethical in early childhood education. I offer this piece as a warning that solely relying on codified ethics completes the transformation of the ECE into a worker technician and may be leading us toward a dystopian future and as a call to activism to engage in the complex ethical work required in the small everyday spaces of the early childhood classroom.

Keywords: early childhood education, codified ethics, ethical, nodes, dematerialization, instrumentalization

Image of node workers in a factory from the film Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera