In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Citizenship

  • Introduction
  • Anthologies and Special Issues of Journals
  • Notions of “Adult” Citizenship
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Children’s Liberation
  • Philosophical Considerations
  • Theoretical Issues
  • Human Rights and Children’s Rights
  • Children and the State
  • Supranational Children’s Citizenship
  • Education for Citizenship
  • Children as Contributors
  • Children’s and Young People’s Views on Citizenship

Childhood Studies Citizenship
Antonella Invernizzi, Brian Milne
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 January 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0072


Citizenship has become a key concept in the social and political sciences, yet it is not easy to understand and handle. This bears an influence when attempting to understand notions of children’s citizenship, which are relatively recent developments in the academic arena. The notion of children as bearers of rights is otherwise well established, and a notion that children should be entitled to franchise is itself relatively old, having been developed before the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In this bibliography we suggest that in order to overcome simplistic concepts and rhetorical statements on children as citizens, there is a need to deconstruct a number of themes and account for specific difficulties. Firstly, there is the need to look at definitions of citizenship that apply to adults. Being able to relocate children’s citizenship within the broader field of citizenship would thus ensure that theories about children are sound and rigorous. Secondly, there is a need to look at the historical perspective of children and their rights, which provides the reader with broader overviews of possible perspectives. Thirdly, there is also a need to consider all different components of citizenship. The section on Theoretical Issues addresses some of these issues and identifies a variety of points of entry into discussion around children’s citizenship. Human rights have been influential in the development of theory and practice about children’s citizenship, and a section is included to cover this (see Human Rights and Children’s Rights). A large part of the field in relation to children’s rights, however, focuses on notions of children’s participation, defined within the children’s rights agenda. This bibliography addresses this in a specific section on Child Participation, Active Citizenship, and Political Rights, Some approaches to active citizenship adopt the standpoint of social movements that particularly consider wider geographical areas and experience from the Global South. This wide field has presented us with inspiring concepts that are generally little known in industrialized countries, and thus some are included here to enrich this portrayal. Also insufficiently known are children and young people’s own perspectives on citizenship, a topic addressed in the last section, Children’s and Young People’s Views on Citizenship. Although this bibliography attempts to map out the main areas and topics in relation to children and citizenship, many categories overlap, and despite an attempt to organize the readings in a clearly structured manner, many of them inevitably fit in more than one section.

Anthologies and Special Issues of Journals

An organized overview of what citizenship means for children is at an early stage in its development, but a number of publications provide an overview of the field and outline different points of entry and perspectives. Earls 2011 provides a significant starting point from which to consider children’s citizenship from a children’s rights perspective. Invernizzi and Milne 2005 also refers to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and provides some critical appraisal of rights enshrined in international instruments as well as more theoretical developments. Invernizzi and Williams 2008 resulted from a seminar series held at Swansea University, Wales, and provides a broader overview of the very different points of entry into discussion of children’s citizenship, including some contributions referring to experiences in the global south.

  • Earls, Felton J., ed. Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011).

    Earls’ edited collection of articles takes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as the basis for a variety of developments on the child as a citizen, including key issues of deliberative democracy, and multigenerational citizenship in a number of countries.

  • Invernizzi, Antonella, and Brian Milne, eds. Children’s Citizenship: An Emergent Discourse on the Rights of the Child. Special Edition 9, Journal of Social Sciences. Delhi: Kamla-Raj, 2005.

    Invernizzi and Milne brought together authors from a number of disciplines to present a critical examination of the question of whether or not children’s citizenship is a practicable notion.

  • Invernizzi, Antonella, and Jane Williams, eds. Children and Citizenship. London: SAGE, 2008.

    This collection, edited by Invernizzi and Williams, provides an overview of the very different points of entry, central debates, and developments academics from various disciplines working on childhood and/or with children have taken in examining children’s citizenship.

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