Conceptualising goodies and baddies through narratives of Jesus and Superman

Miriam Giugni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Religion, like Superhero discourse, is a contested topic of question and debate in early childhood education. This article draws on data from a small ethnographic study that took place in a long day care centre in Sydney Australia. The study examined how children negotiated their ‘identity work’ in the context of popular culture. In this article, the author explores one example from the study in which a group of four-year-old boys drew upon discourses of Christianity and Superheroes in the negotiation of their identities within an early childhood curriculum. Using post-structural and critical theory, the article highlights how these moral and cultural epistemologies appeared easily accessible and desirable to the children and were particularly useful in their negotiated narratives of goodies and baddies. Consequently, questions are asked of the ways early childhood guidelines for practice both embody and reject discourses of religion and Superheroes because such values appear to be culturally risky in an inclusive curriculum. It is clear, therefore, that both superheroes and religion hold exchange value for some children in the negotiation of their identities, yet, such discourses are often invisible or banned in early childhood curriculum
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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