Civil Society Organizations and Policy Making Policy in the EU, Cadiz, İspanya, 11 - 13 Mayıs 2020, ss.1-2
Childhood and Citizenship. Understanding (critically) children's participation
Children and childhood are almost always on the agenda and researchers from different disciplines can study on. This study tries to compile researches about children’s participation from the perspective of citizenship. Therefore it hopes to get theoretical support from participatory democracy. The aim of the study is to reveal the real participation conditions of child citizens and try to start an interdisciplinary focus to get a model of child citizenship. However, this paper, like most studies it criticizes, involves researches on children rather than with children. That’s why, it should be said that the main interrogation of this paper is, whether and how it is possible to form of citizenship to ensure full participation of children directly. In this context, the topics of the study are children’s right to participation in international agreements, the forms of the children’s participation in academic studies and children’s participation as a citizenship issue. Firstly, international agreements are important to see how the world’s legal concept mentions about social and political inclusion and participation of children. It is a good way to understand how policies response to children’s participation conditions, EU Commission documents about children and youth participation and citizenship are also analyzed. Secondly, the academic literature gives a chance to see what the (especially) childhood academicians are talking over children’s participation and how they design and conduct their studies. Children’s participation studies usually take into account Article 12 (of the Convention on the Rights of Children) which has details on the participation concepts. Hart is a researcher who adapted the participation ladder to the children’s participation. To reveal the idea he defends, he organizes the steps of the participation ladder (from non-participated to participated) as manipulation, decoration, tokenism, assigned but informed, consulted and informed, adult initiated-shared decisions with children, child initiated and directed, child initiated-shared decisions with adults. In addition to Hart, Thomas argues the differences between participation and consultation, and he focuses on the different levels of participation in his article (2007). He reveals the discussions on the definitions and critics of participation, the ways of participation in the topics such as suffrage, representative/participatory democracy. Eventually, he does not suggest a theory, but he pays attention to some dimensions which can subscribe to participation concepts. Percy-Smith (2006) mentions how policies response to children and young people in public spaces, and he especially takes care the end of the honeymoon period of participation and it is time to see how children and young people’s actions may impact both themselves and other, how other’s values and priorities may be different from their own. As a conclusion, child citizenship is wanted to open to discussion to subscribe to the literature.
Hart, Roger. 1992. Children’s Participation from Tokenism to Citizenship. UNICEF.
Percy-Smith, Barry. 2006. “From Consultation to Social Learning in Community Participation with Young People.” Children, Youth and Environments 16(2): 153-179.
Thomas, Nigel Patrick. 2007. “Towards a Theory of Children’s Participation.” International Journal of Children’s Rights 15: 199–218.