Children, Power and Participation: theoretical and methodological considerations in citizenship formation and research
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Communications and Multimedia / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications
There are extraordinary contradictions in how western industrial societies deal with children as citizens. Exploiting young children as consumers is considered acceptable and they are treated as "adult" consumers in advertising. Yet treating under-age people as adults in political decision-making, even their views on political events that might shape their lives, is treated with hostility and exclusion with words like "juvenile" and "childish" used in derogatory ways to describe thinking that is not fully rational. In this paper the authors report on theoretical research that explores the idea of the child and the relationship between constructions of the child, power and citizenship in order to address key concerns in methodology and field research.