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  • Lilja, Jenny (2021)
    The purpose of this study was to find out how diversity is presented in contemporary chil-dren’s picturebooks. The theoretical background of the study was based on feminist peda-gogy, gender studies and cultural studies. The aim of the study was to describe, analyze and interpret the discourses of diversity in children's picturebooks written in 2012–2021. The main interest was in the means of making diversity a part of everyday life’s representa-tion. The phenomena were examined intersectionally. Previous studies (see e.g., Pesonen 2015a, 2015b, 2017; Heikkilä-Halttunen 2013; Rastas 2013, Beezmohun 2013; Kokkola & Österlund 2014; Österlund 2008) have found that diversity is often presented in an exotic and ethnocentric way – through differences – but discourse is changing to describe diversity as a normal part of society. Representations of socially constructed categories such as citi-zenship, “race,” and gender are changing. The research material was produced by selecting picturebooks that presented diversity in some way as a principle. The purpose in studying discourses was to increase understand-ing of how hegemonic and dominant discourses were challenged in the selected picture-books. Poststructuralist feminist discourse analysis was used to analyze the material. Es-pecially power positions and agencies were examined. The study showed that in the ten children's picturebooks examined, diversity is mostly pre-sented as a normal, everyday and pervasive phenomenon. Three main discourses could be distinguished from the material, which were 1) children challenging the hegemonic norma-tive, 2) diversity as a normal part of society, and 3) requirement of equality: everyone has the right to be their own self. Modern children’s literature actively challenged dominant con-cepts of gender, “race,” ethnicity, language, age, and health status, but at the same time might have produced binary gender dichotomy. Nevertheless, all the books studied also created a new kind of diversity discourse and, in other words, actively reproduced concept of diversity.