The urban preschools in Turkey, the first cycle and a significant part of the larger neoliberal education market, are places where usually you can only peek-a-boo as an adult. My fieldwork in Istanbul focuses on how educator men navigate performances of gender and carework in a heavily gendered atmosphere. Within the workforce dominated by women in number, men who are doing carework and doing gender display and tell many stories unfolding a precarious condition for both children, and men who provide care and education. Whether they are confided in by employers and parents for the caring and education of the young children is another question. They are considered as role-models, potential threats and insignificant minorities, all at once by employers, parents and sometimes even by themselves. Neoliberal and competitive frames of education market keep consuming and discarding educators regardless of gender to reproduce the old degenerations for new generations. These regimes are also heavily gendered. They encourage competencies through division of labour based on sex categories, both among children and adult workers. Nevertheless, since it is an institution of care and education, preschool also embodies the potential to challenge the gender and work regimes through educators.
doing gender; male preschool teachers; neoliberal education; precarious work; preschools in Turkey