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

Introduction

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).

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    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.

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  • 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.

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    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.

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

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    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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Notions of “Adult” Citizenship

The classical view of citizenship often draws on Marshall 1950 and considers different components of the topic. For the purpose of this bibliography, Lister’s conceptualization, (see Lister 2007 and Lister 2008, both cited under Theoretical Issues), is most relevant because it applies to children. The building blocks she identifies are membership of a community, the right of duties, and equality of status. Although, historically, citizenship has been defined very differently (Heater 2004), in recent history it has been defined as membership of a nation state with entitlement to civil, political, and social rights. Turner 2001 singles out traditional ways of gaining citizenship and, like Kivisto and Faist 2007, observes the recent changes and the need to redefine the concept. Traditional definitions of citizenship focusing on the status of a member of a nation state blended with rights and obligations have been challenged in the light of various forms of exclusion and discrimination, which are particularly evident in the situation of stateless individuals. Theorizations have enlarged the framework and stressed the importance of human rights and how definitions of citizenship exclude groups and individuals from some (or sometimes all) human rights, and how this is particularly conceptually relevant to children. Moving away from a nation-state–based definition, Faulks 2000 offers a postmodern theory of citizenship that responds to more recent changes. Notions of global citizenship, cosmopolitan citizenship, or supranational citizenship thus appear in the field. An important part of citizenship studies concerns the definition of individuals as agents, including their rights and obligations. Equality of status is challenged by feminist perspectives (Lister 1997), and research that focuses on issues such as gay groups, disability, and cultural rights (Isin and Turner 2002). The membership component of citizenship is exemplified by a concept of “membership in a political community,” giving the individual a source of identity and political empowerment. This has been highly relevant in developments concerning children, and the foundation of this concept in terms of Child Participation can be found in Arnstein 1969, which develops a ladder of citizen participation.

  • Arnstein, Sherry R. “A Ladder of Citizen Participation.” Journal of the American Institute of Planners 35.4 (1969): 216–224.

    DOI: 10.1080/01944366908977225Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Arnstein identifies several degrees of participation. Lower rungs describe levels of “Nonparticipation.” Citizens’actions enable power holders to “educate” people; The next two “Tokenism” rungs, allow “have-nots” to hear and be heard. Further up the ladder, levels of “Citizen Power” grow by degrees of decision making. Citizens enter into a partnership enabling consultation and engagement with traditional power holders. These top rungs (Partnership, Delegated Power, and Citizen Control) involve decision-making positions that delegate power and citizen control. Hart 1992 (cited under Child Participation) adopts this “ladder” in his work.

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  • Faulks, Keith. Citizenship. London: Routledge, 2000.

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    Faulks employs a postmodern theory of citizenship to ask whether or not citizenship can exist without the nation-state. He also examines the balance between rights and responsibilities, asking whether we should enjoy group and individual rights. Furthermore, he questions whether globalization has made citizenship redundant. He describes citizenship as a concept that has become one of the most important political ideas of our time.

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  • Heater, Derek. A Brief History of Citizenship. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.

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    Heater examines the topic from the time of Plato to the postmodern sociology of Rorty, thus providing a to-the-point survey of the notion of citizenship. All major historic periods are covered. Heater argues that we cannot begin to understand our current conditions until we have an understanding of the original concept of the citizen and how that has evolved over the centuries.

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  • Isin, Engin, and Bryan S. Turner, eds. Handbook of Citizenship Studies. London: SAGE, 2002.

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    Isin and Turner show that citizenship is an increasingly important focal point in social sciences. Social scientists have been rethinking the role of political agents or subjects so that rights and obligations of citizens have been redefined. What it means to be a citizen has become an issue of vital concern. A variety of issues are included, from civil, women’s, and gay rights through to disability, cultural, and language rights.

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  • Kivisto, Peter, and Thomas Faist. Citizenship: Discourse, Theory and Transnational Prospects. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.

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    Kivisto and Faist focus on the importance and changing nature of citizenship. Though not specifically including children, the book examines a variety of recent and highly pertinent discourses and theories. It identifies four broadly considered themes that shape the various discourses on contemporary citizenship, consisting of inclusion, erosion, withdrawal, and expansion.

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  • Lister, Ruth. Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1997.

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    Lister presents and examines a number of different feminist critiques of citizenship as it is. She uses some comparative examples, such as migrant workers and political refugees, to balance her arguments, which gives it a significant place in the environment of developing theoretical arguments on children’s citizenship.

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  • Marshall, Thomas. Citizenship and Social Class, and Other Essays. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1950.

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    Social citizenship was highlighted in this 1949 essay. Marshall suggested the state has social responsibilities to provide citizens with rights of economic welfare and security so they can fully share the social traditions and standards established within their society. It is focused on England and describes the author’s belief in an evolution of rights through citizenship, from civil rights in the 18th century, political rights in the 19th century, and social rights in the 20th century.

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  • Turner, Bryan S. “The Erosion of Citizenship.” British Journal of Sociology 52 (2001): 189–209.

    DOI: 10.1080/00071310120044944Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This short article examines traditional pathways to entitlements (work, war, and reproduction/family), and their progressive erosion.

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Historical Perspectives

The notion of children as bearers of rights is not an entirely recent occurrence, and the idea that children should be entitled to franchise with responsibilities has been considered for some centuries. Although the authors included in this section do not all explicitly use notions of citizenship or rights, their contribution is highly pertinent because they identify ideas and social constructions, or they examine the place or position children have and have had at different times. The classic work, Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Locke 1997; first published 1690), presents an image of childhood in which children only have dependency rights that ensure development into adults. Conversely, Spence 1796 puts forward a notion of “rights of infants.” Cunningham 2005 examines ideas proposed by a number of authors, including Rousseau and Freud. Other authors identify the specific place of children at different times. History also contains essential information on variable positions of children in society to provide a context for the modern version of childhood (Sommerville 1982, Heywood 2001, Heywood 2007). Milne 2013 examines ideas and places attributed to children in a variety of societies and times, using such an analytic approach to resituate present efforts to promote children’s citizenship and human rights.

  • Cunningham, Hugh. Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500. Harlow, UK: Pearson, 2005.

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    Cunningham examines the relationship between concepts of childhood and the actual experience of being a child. He presents an assessment of how much that relationship changed over five centuries. Explaining the development of ideas about childhood from the Renaissance to the present, he uses examples from Locke, Rousseau, Wordsworth, and Freud to illustrate significant differences in how Western societies have understood and valued childhood over time.

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  • Heywood, Colin. A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times. Cambridge, UK; and Malden, MA: Polity, 2001.

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    Heywood examines changing experiences and insights on childhood from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century. He examines different ways in which people have thought about childhood as a life stage, relationships with families and peers and their experiences at work and school, and what a variety of welfare institutions have done to and for them.

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  • Heywood, Colin. Growing Up in France: From the Ancien Régime to the Third Republic. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Heywood examines the history of childhood and youth in modern France, circa 1750 to 1940. Particular reference is made to child labor and its impact on health, education, social constructions of childhood and youth, and family relationships.

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  • Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Edited by Roger Woolhouse. New York: Penguin, 1997.

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    Locke’s “self” is a self-aware and self-reflective consciousness fixed in a human body. For children, he proposes the notion of an “empty mind” (tabula rasa) that is shaped by experience. Thus, children are thought to only have “dependency rights,” which are those provided with for them and associated with reasonable expectations that they, as dependents, will to grow into healthy, efficient adults. Originally published in 1690.

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  • Milne, Brian. The History and Theory of Children’s Citizenship in Contemporary Societies. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2013.

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    Milne examines the notion of citizenship as it applies to children throughout history, philosophy, and the social sciences. Recent development issues within childhood studies and human rights are thus placed in a broader context with particular emphasis on the very different positions children have occupied in their respective societies. Neither in history nor in present work on children’s participation does the author find evidence of children’s full citizenship, but in some areas there is a recognition of facets of it. He challenges the romantic views of children and idealized approaches to citizenship that assume egalitarian relationships within societies that do not reflect the reality of adults, and that potentially mislead people in actions to promote children’s citizenship.

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  • Sommerville, Charles J. The Rise and Fall of Childhood. Beverley Hills, CA: SAGE, 1982.

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    Mapping history from Antiquity to the present, Sommerville makes a synthesis of contemporary research relating to education, family, infant mortality, and child psychology. He examines the changing place of children from the “dawn of history” to contemporary society. In modern nation-states, concern about children’s survival and the standardization of childhood is part of an identity crisis, whereby the child is seen as an object rather than active members of civil society.

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  • Spence, Thomas. The Rights of Infants. London, 1796.

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    This work by Spence is included as example and indicator in the timeline to show when the notion of children as bearers of rights arose, and therefore raising questions about citizenship. What was known as “Spence’s Plan” included universal suffrage at the parish level, through to a system of deputies elected by parishes to a national senate. He proposed the notion of the “rights of infants” to be free from abuse and poverty.

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Children’s Liberation

The children’s liberation movement is a part of history that must be considered in order to understand citizenship as applied to children. Though controversial on some points, children’s liberationists questioned the differential treatment of children and their lack of rights and self-determination, as exemplified in Adams and Hall 1971, Cohen 1980 and Farson 1974. Holt 1974, in particular, represents a challenge to dominant and idealized images of childhood. The movement gave an impetuous for thinking about children’s rights and the child as an autonomous human being, although the arguments of its proponents have been challenged—in Purdy 1992, for instance. This section takes in a number of works that have been very influential in discussing the autonomy rights of the child, though they remained marginal at the time progress was being made toward giving children a distinct set of rights beyond the 1959 UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The rights considered by children’s liberationists developed in a very different way from those in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Indeed the focus on autonomy led children’s liberation writers to propose rights that some see as at odds with the content of the CRC.

  • Adams, Paul, and Julian Hall, eds. Children’s Rights: Towards the Liberation of the Child. London: Elek, 1971.

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    This collection from Adams and Hall represents a sort of manifesto for the rights of children as autonomous individuals, and a number of relevant analyses are put forward.

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  • Cohen, Howard. Equal Rights for Children. Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams, 1980.

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    Cohen presents a children’s liberation view that is based on an argument that children are not at variance from adults in ways that justify asserting they should not have the same rights as adults.

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  • Farson, Richard. Birthrights. New York: Macmillan, 1974.

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    Farson claims children should have rights to decide matters affecting them directly. He believes they have rights to privacy and freedom of expression, confidentiality, friends, belief or religion, what they read and listen to, among others. Furthermore, he says children should have the right to design their education, including the option of not attending any kind of school, and (controversially) should be able conduct their sexual lives with no more constraint than adults.

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  • Holt, John. Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1974.

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    Holt’s book makes a case for treating children like “real people” rather than pets or slaves, and for making all “adult” rights and responsibilities in the US Bill of Rights available to them. This book was a challenge to what constitutes “childhood” in modern society, and also in society as a whole.

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  • Purdy, Laura M. In Their Best Interest? The Case against Equal Rights for Children. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992.

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    Purdy examined how children’s decisions about where they live, which school they attend, or whether they may work is controlled by caretakers. Supporters of equal rights for children offer empirical evidence and ethical arguments against suppositions that children are incompetent to exercise the same independence as adults. Purdy challenges the case for children’s liberation by rejecting conclusions that in democratic societies legal distinctions between children and adults should be abolished.

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Philosophical Considerations

The philosophy of childhood is a recently recognized and rational area of philosophical study. As with other branches of philosophy, epistemology influences other research areas, with O’Neill 2004 in particular bearing on theory. Children were noticed by philosophers as far back as Lao-tzu around 500 BCE, Socrates around 400 BC and other philosophers such as Kant more recently. The recent appearance of a philosophy of childhood, however, owes more to modern philosophy than older sources. Archard and Macleod 2002 introduces children as subjects from a theoretical perspective whereas Brockliss and Rousseau 2003 looks at contexts in which children are seen, and in particular at how they are administered. Moosa-Mitha 2005 looks at children’s rights with an emphasis on difference, O’Neill 2004 is critical of the failure of liberalism in the development of children’s rights, and Uprichard 2008 provides a brief insight into the question of being, which is a core issue in the question of the validity of human life. These different perspectives are part of an epistemology that gives substance to an argument supporting a philosophy of childhood.

  • Archard, David, and Colin Macleod, eds. The Moral and Political Status of Children: New Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    Archard and Macleod’s book contains contributions from several eminent moral and political philosophers on the subject of children. These were entirely new essays at the time of publication, and are devoted to a subject that until very recently had not been comprehensively discussed by philosophers.

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  • Brockliss, Laurence, and George Rousseau. “The History Child.” Oxford Magazine, Michaelmas Term (2003): 4–7.

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    Brockliss and Rousseau’s article is more a plaintiff comment than a research or conventional work. It looks at the codes by which we understand and interact with children, which the two writers perceive as being in a process of being rethought in law courts, medical schools, social agencies, governmental departments, and especially media.

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  • Moosa-Mitha, Mehmoona. “A Difference-Centred Alternative to Theorization of Children’s Citizenship Rights.” Citizenship Studies 9.4 (2005): 369–388.

    DOI: 10.1080/13621020500211354Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Moosa-Mitha looks at the “rights revolution” as central to modern political thought, with numerous theories about children’s rights. She argues for theories of children’s citizenship rights placing analysis within those that are difference-centered. She also discusses an alternative expression of children’s citizenship rights through analysis of rights to liberty and equality. She reiterates them in terms of “equality-as-same” to one that sees children as “differently equal” members of society.

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  • O’Neill, John. Civic Capitalism: The State of Childhood. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.

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    O’Neill indicts the failure of liberalism to protect the rights of children. He argues from a human capital perspective that a society’s investment in children is as or more important for its future health and well-being than investment in physical capital. A secure “civic childhood” can only be sustained through generous support of a wide range of contributors.

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  • Uprichard, Emma. “Children as ‘Being and Becomings’: Children, Childhood and Temporality.” Children and Society 22 (2008): 303–313.

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    Uprichard examines notions of “being” and “becoming,” which are a focal theme of research. She questions problems looking at the “being” child as a social actor in his or her own right, and at “becoming,” which she describes as an “adult in the making.” The former acts within his or her own peer domain as an equal, whereas the “becoming” adult is someone who lacks competences and abilities with which “childish” things are compared.

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Theoretical Issues

As Invernizzi and Williams 2008 (cited under Anthologies and Special Issues of Journals) points out, publications in relation to children’s citizenship adopt different points of entry: theory of childhood, approaches to rights, theories of citizenship and intergenerational justice, and so on. This section aims to provide an overview of these perspectives. Franklin 1986 provides a discussion that challenges usual arguments that exclude children from the political community, and in doing so provides material for thinking differently about children’s citizenship. Both James 2011 and Alderson 1994 challenge established theories and concepts of childhood. James 2011 addresses issues related to citizenship by examining contemporary theories of childhood. Alderson 1994 provides a critical examination of concepts of rights that naturally associate them with adulthood and established values and beliefs that influence research on children and their rights. Alderson’s work also represents an original theoretical stance on citizenship that applies to children (see Alderson 2000 and Alderson, et al. 2005, cited under Human Rights and Children’s Rights. Jones 2008 proposes a generational life course perspective to tackle the problem that age delimitation creates when discussing issues of dependency. In Lister 2007 and Lister 2008, the starting point is theory of citizenship and the way it can accommodate children. Cockburn 1998 presents a social model of citizenship that accounts for the interconnectedness of human beings, and thus is more capable of including children. Cohen 2005 questions the lack of capacity attributed to children and their consequently increased vulnerability. Solum 2001 provides a key introduction to the issue of intergenerational justice.

  • Alderson, Priscilla. “Researching Children’s Right to Integrity.” In Children’s Childhoods: Observed and Experienced. Edited by Berry Mayall, 45–62. London: Falmer, 1994.

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    Alderson looks at how concepts of rights were originally based on values of rationality, independence, and freedom. Because they are normally identified with adulthood rather than with childhood, they contribute to generalizations that assume children should be without civil rights but emphatically have a need for protection. She states that the impact of current beliefs on research into childhood requires researchers to examine their own values when researching children’s rights.

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  • Cockburn, Tom. “Children and Citizenship in Britain: A Case for a Socially Interdependent Model of Citizenship.” Childhood 5.1 (1998): 99–118.

    DOI: 10.1177/0907568298005001007Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Cockburn challenges most concepts of citizenship in the manner in which they exclude children. He employs a social model of citizenship, emphasizing how people are connected to each other rather than being viewed as acting as individualized, independent, and rational beings who are not linked. He argues that if people’s relations with others form the foundation of ideas of citizenship, then placing children within that society becomes less challenging.

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  • Cohen, Elizabeth F. “Neither Seen nor Heard: Children’s Citizenship in Contemporary Democracies.” Citizenship Studies 9.2 (2005): 221–240.

    DOI: 10.1080/13621020500069687Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Cohen examines children’s citizenship in liberal democracies, where they lack full capacity to act as citizens. Cohen believes that paternalistic attitudes and policies ordain that children are represented politically by parents, leaving them vulnerable and debarred from private life, like women were before full franchise. Since they lack independent representation or any form of voice in the political world, their interests fail to be understood because adult representatives substitute their own views.

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  • Franklin, Bob. “Children’s Political Rights.” In The Rights of Children. Edited by Bob Franklin, 24–53. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986.

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    Franklin’s work is seminal because he looked at the politics of childhood and included children as political actors. Since his work is also pre-CRC it remains unique because of the issues he looked at in the mid-1980s, which in many respects remain unresolved more than two decades after the adoption of the CRC. See also his “Introduction” (pp. 1–23).

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  • James, Allison. “To Be (Come) or Not to Be (Come): Understanding Children’s Citizenship.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 167–179.

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    James explores notions of the “child as citizen” and “children’s citizenship” as possibilities and commitment to the rights in the CRC. She asks if “children’s citizenship” can ever be fully accomplished for or by children. She begins with an examination of contemporary theories of citizenship, and she contemplates grounds for children’s citizenship, considering ways in which childhood is culturally, socially, economically, and politically constructed in different societies.

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  • Jones, Gill. “Citizenship and the Problem of Dependence.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 97–107. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    Drawing on Jones and Claire Wallace’s Youth, Family, and Citizenship (1992), Jones shows the unease regarding age that defines the consideration of notions of dependency and the particular position of those needing support. Though in the background of the CRC, dependency is limited in application for considering young people’s transitions. A generational life course perspective is instead suggested as a way forward toward understanding intergenerational relationships and the transition from dependence to independence.

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  • Lister, Ruth. “Why Citizenship: Where, When and How Children?” Theoretical Inquiries in Law 8.2 (July 2007): 693–718.

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    Lister unpacks elements of citizenship, considering what they mean for children. These elements are membership and participation, rights and responsibilities, equality of status, and respect and recognition. She also discusses lessons learned from the feminist critique of the mainstream constructions of citizenship.

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  • Lister, Ruth. “Unpacking Children’s Citizenship.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 9–19. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    This is a shorter version of Lister 2007, which unpacks the different elements of citizenship. Some of these “building blocks,” Lister argues, better accommodate children.

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  • Solum, Lawrence B. “To Our Children’s Children: The Problems of Intergenerational Ethics.” Loyola Los Angeles Law Review 35.1 (2001): 163.

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    Solum examines some of the problems of intergenerational ethics, which are among the most difficult issues in moral and political philosophy, and thus contribute to the shape of future citizenship.

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Human Rights and Children’s Rights

A human rights approach to citizenship is seen as key to ensuring that citizenship itself is a basis for inclusion of the human being rather than a tool for exclusion (see, for instance Lister 1997, cited under Notions of “Adult” Citizenship). Differing from that for adults, a number of texts regard the concept of children’s citizenship as a synonym of the notion of children as subjects advocated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). For this reason, the field of children’s citizenship relating to children’s rights provides a significant number of works analyzing implementation (or its lack) of the CRC in a variety of areas. Invernizzi and Milne 2005, however, argue that one cannot assimilate the rights enshrined in the CRC and rights to citizenship (e.g., the right of vote and children’s participation), and that difference needs to be scrutinized. In this section, the focus is on publications that go beyond the assessment of implementation and provide the reader with specific questions on how citizenship is defined through the lense of human rights applied to children. Though the rights enshrined in the CRC have been classified around the notion of the “3Ps” (provision, protection, and participation), and though the indivisibility of rights as often been stressed, reflections on children and citizenship often focus largely either on welfare rights or on participation (which is often defined by Article 12 of the CRC). For the purpose of this bibliography, and given the extended interest academics working on children and citizenship have shown for participation, issues related to participation are developed under Active Citizenship. In this section, the readings outline key issues on the relationship between the CRC and the notion of children’s citizenship in particular. Alderson 2000 provides an excellent introduction to the CRC and children’s rights. Her stance (also put forth in Alderson, et al. 2005) presents a holistic approach to citizenship, with consideration of the indivisibility of rights and their interconnected nature. She puts forward a child-focused approach that requires questioning the beliefs and views of children. Earls 2011, an introduction to a special issue on children’s citizenship, lists a number of important issues and questions arising from considering children as citizens with the rights enshrined by the CRC. Bohman 2011 provides a connection between the CRC and the issue of intergenerational justice. Fass 2011 and Milne 2008 both present an examination of the history of children’s rights through the lense of children’s citizenship.

  • Alderson, Priscilla. Young Children’s Rights: Exploring Beliefs, Principle and Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2000.

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    Alderson examines the often disregarded issue of the rights of young children, beginning with a question regarding how the CRC applies to children from birth to eight years old. She carefully examines the question of searching for a balance between young children’s rights to protection, provision, and participation (the “3Ps”).

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  • Alderson, Priscilla, Joanna Hawthorne, and Margaret Killen. “Are Premature Babies Citizens with Rights? Privision Rights and the Edges of Citizenship.” In Children’s Citizenship: An Emergent Discourse on the Rights of the Child. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Brian Milne, 71–81. Special Edition 9, Journal of Social Sciences. Delhi: Kamla-Raj, 2005.

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    This ethnographic research in neonatal units illustrates how most rights of the child apply to premature babies. Rather than denying or trivializing rights, attention to premature babies’ rights and citizenship can shed light on how human rights are embodied and socially contextualized. The authors reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of conceptualizing premature babies’ needs as rights and, accordingly, their status as citizens.

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  • Bohman, James. “Children and the Rights of Citizens: Non-domination and Intergenerational Justice.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 128–140.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383114Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Bohman describes the CRC’s emphasis on “temporal” dimensions of childhood and children’s need for special protection. In his view, protection has become necessary because of their vulnerability to power over them, especially intergenerational domination. He argues that it is true of past and future generations, concentrating particularly on domination of the current generation of children, especially where public goods and services important for a good-quality life are available.

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  • Earls, Felton. “Children: From Rights to Citizenship.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 6–16.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383637Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This article by Earls introduces the themes of children’s rights and citizenship and surveys the contributions to this volume of the Annals, which marked the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the CRC. Contributions to this volume take the CRC as a starting point along a path to realizing operable citizenship for children. Child protection, political maturity, and intergenerational relations are covered.

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  • Fass, Paula S. “A Historical Context for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 17–29.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210382388Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Fass looks at the history of complex and contradictory developments during the 20th century culminating in the CRC. She examines how after the 19th century and two wars during the early 20th century, defining what was owed to children and how best to meet their needs was part of international negotiations. Issues of child welfare and protection were rethought, and eventually more active commitment was given to children’s rights.

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  • Invernizzi, Antonella, and Brian Milne. “Conclusion: Some Elements of an Emergent Discourse on Children’s Rights to Citizenship.” In Children’s Citizenship: An Emergent Discourse on the Rights of the Child. Special Edition 9, Journal of Social Sciences. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Brian Milne, 83–99. Delhi: Kamla-Raj, 2005.

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    Invernizzi and Milne examine a number of aspects of the CRC and challenge a notion that rights enshrined in this instrument solely provide the basis for children’s citizenship. They discuss notions of full, partial, and noncitizenship; the distance between the participation agenda and political rights; issues of conflicts; and the indivisibility of rights.

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  • Milne, Brian. “From Chattels to Citizens? Eighty Years of Eglantyne Jebb’s Legacy to Children and Beyond.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 44–54. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    This is an attempt by Milne to map the progress of children’s rights and passage toward full membership of society, from the time of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1924, expanded on in 1959, and going on to be a driving force behind the 1989 CRC.

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Children and the State

Following the classic definitions of citizenship, the relationship between children and the state has been addressed by a number of key publications. As Milne 2013 (cited under Historical Perspectives) observes, no state today recognizes children as full citizens exactly as they do adults. The publications presented in this section thus examine the inclusion and exclusion of children in relation to specific rights or, as in Teff 2011, to specific groups, such as stateless children, where international human rights instruments clash with national legislations. In relation to participation, Cockburn 2006 examines the way the public domain needs to better accommodate children. Archard 2003 emphasizes the moral and political status of children and the allocation of rights and responsibilities of the state, of the child, and of the family. Rizzini 2011 adopts a CRC-based approach to assess children’s citizenship in Brazil.

  • Archard, David. Children, Family and the State. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003.

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    Archard places an emphasis on the moral and political status of children, central to examining their status as citizens. He examines three interconnected questions: Which rights does a child have? Which rights over a child and duties to a child do parents have? Which rights over a child and duties relating to a child are the state responsible for? He examines three areas of education: child protection, policy, and medical treatment.

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  • Cockburn, Tom. “Children as Participative Citizens: A Radical Pluralist Case for ‘Child-friendly’ Public Communication.” In Children’s Citizenship: An Emergent Discourse on the Rights of the Child. Special Edition 9, Journal of Social Sciences. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Brian Milne, 19–29. Delhi: Kamla-Raj, 2006.

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    Cockburn theorizes the changing nature of children’s citizenship in the United Kingdom. In order to understand advances and obstacles, it is necessary to explore the changing relationship between the “private” sphere of family and school and “public” world of organizations and political discourse. He argues that a significant step in bringing forward children’s citizenship is a reevaluation of the “public” sphere to become more accommodating to children.

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  • Rizzini, Irene. “The Promise of Citizenship for Brazilian Children: What Has Changed?” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 66–79.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383950Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Rizzini explores ideas behind the promise of citizenship for children in Brazil, with particular focus on the CRC and what the law has actually achieved. The conclusion describes some of the most significant improvements affecting children’s lives, as well as some remaining challenges Brazilians face in their attempt to keep promises made in the constitution and statute.

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  • Teff, Melanie. The Acquisition of Citizenship by the Children of Non-Citizens: Does International Human Rights Law Limit the Sovereignty of States to Decide Which Children Acquire Their Citizenship by Birth? Saarbrücken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic, 2011.

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    Despite recent emphasis on the determination and importance of rights of noncitizens by the UN, children born without citizenship rarely have the same life prospects as nationals of host countries. Teff shows that although states maintain the right to determine how citizenship is acquired, international human rights treaties and recent judgments limit states’ discretion to prohibit both direct and indirect discrimination and the “creation” of statelessness.

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Supranational Children’s Citizenship

The notion of supranational citizenship refers to the relationship children have (or should have) with supranational institutions. Human rights instruments are the key to these developments. As Ennew 2008 shows, since the 1990s there has been growing support for children’s participation in international meetings, and there is a need for critical appraisal of these events. Van Bueren 2011 points out that, at a time when children are still normally represented by adults, there is nonetheless a willingness to enable children to take their complaints to international human rights bodies and courts themselves, which has indeed materialized since the publication of Van Bueren’s article, with the Optional Protocol to the CRC on communication procedures. At the EU level, Ackers and Stalford 2004 examines how citizenship is conceived and enacted for children with particular reference to second-generation migrants, refugees, and stateless persons.

  • Ackers, Louise, and Helen Stalford. A Community for Children?: Children, Citizenship, and Internal Migration in the EU. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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    This is Ackers and Stalford’s examination of the impact of migration on children within the EU. It is set within the framework of the development of “Citizenship of the Union” and the extension of legal rights to families of EU migrant workers. It involved in-depth interviews with parents and children of migrant families in four countries, examining their legal entitlements under EU law and the relevance of European citizenship for children.

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  • Ennew, Judith. “Children as ‘Citizens’ of the United Nations (UN)” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 66–78. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    Ennew’s text critically examines initiatives to promote children and young people’s participation in UN international meetings. It points out the limitations of these initiatives while showing progress toward increased participation.

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  • Van Bueren, Geraldine. “Multigenerational Citizenship: The Importance of Recognizing Children as National and International Citizens.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 30–51.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383113Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Van Bueren examines the increasing acceptance within political and human rights of children’s autonomy to bring complaints to a human rights body. She presents developments toward establishing a complaints mechanism under the CRC, arguing it is an important element of international child citizenship. She also examines progress made by national courts, which is helping to change international accords on providing a remedy for contravention of child citizenship rights.

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Education for Citizenship

The notion of education for citizenship embraces a number of different perspectives, which can be placed on a continuum where there are two extreme poles. On the one extreme one would place concepts referring to what children and young people need to learn for future citizenship. Lockyer 2008 identifies the foundations of this approach. Some of the texts examining the integration of citizenship material into school curricula follow this line, with a different balance between what is needed for future citizenship and present rights (Citizenship Foundation 1998). At the other pole on the continuum one can find notions mainly arising in the Global South that describe learning from experience, whereby children reflect on their problems and actively work with adults to find solutions and promote their rights. In this case, learning aims at the empowerment of the child as a citizen in his or her present life. Swift 1997 clearly exemplifies this approach, and other work, particularly Liebel 2008 (cited under Active Citizenship), shows how the protagonismo approach, for instance, suggests a more holistic approach that includes welfare and political action. Collins 2008, Holden and Clough 1998, and Howe and Covell 2007 all show potential for integrating objectives related to education to (future) citizenship into the promotion of active citizenship of children.

  • The Citizenship Foundation. Citizenship for All: A Wide Ability Teacher’s Resource Guide. Cheltenham, UK: Stanley Thornes, 1998.

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    This teaching guide from the Citizenship Foundation was produced following an extensive development and trial project in a number of schools. It consists of flexible materials that allow teachers to select individual units or topics according to current issues, disposition, or interests within their class at any point in time. The contents list includes topics such as belonging, change, safety and security, rights and responsibilities, and laws and regulations.

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  • Collins, Margaret. Global Citizenship for Young Children. London and Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008.

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    Collins’s main point is that citizenship education gives children the skills necessary to play an active role in society and develop to act as socially and morally responsible citizens. This is a resource for children aged four to nine years that explores six topics: basic needs, environmental issues, fairness, exploration of various cultures, democracy, and global issues.

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  • Holden, Cathie, and Nick Clough, eds. Children as Citizens: Education for Participation. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley, 1998.

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    Holden and Clough present a critical examination of the current debate on education for citizenship. The authors examine the views of children and teachers on such topics as the nature of citizenship, global responsibility, social justice, and human rights, with particular emphasis on the rights of the child and the system itself.

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  • Howe, Robert Brian, and Katherine Covell. Empowering Children: Children’s Rights Education as a Pathway to Citizenship. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

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    Howe and Covell’s work emphasizes that educating children about basic rights is necessary for a country to not only fulfill legal obligations, but also to advance education on democratic principles and the practice of citizenship. Children’s rights education is a means of empowering children as individuals and citizens with respect for rights in democratic societies, and education has a “contagion effect,” generating broad social knowledge of human rights and what social responsibility means.

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  • Lockyer, Andrew. “Education for Citizenship: Children as Citizens.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 20–31. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    This chapter by Lockyer examines underlying philosophical foundations of citizenship education in the United Kingdom, identifying a reference to both republican and liberal traditions. Emphasis is on rights and duties with reference to “social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy.”

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  • Swift, Anthony. Children for Social Change: Education for Citizenship of Street and Working Children in Brazil. Nottingham, UK: Educational Heretics, 1997.

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    Swift examines the pedagogy of love, respect, and solidarity developed by street educators working with outcast children within the Movement of the Republic of Emmaus in Brazil. This thoroughly unique approach placed children at the forefront of the struggle for rights. Educators and children explored new dimensions of citizenship in partnership, thanks to the broad grassroots social movements in Brazil.

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Children as Contributors

The notion that contributions (duties and responsibilities) go hand in hand with rights is considered part of the traditional pathway to citizenship (see Turner 2001, cited under Notions of “Adult” Citizenship). Although a human rights–based concept of citizenship shows that rights should not be tied to contributions that overshadow exclusion of those less able to contribute, such as children and the disabled, infirm or elderly, the issue of children as contributors is key in some texts. Indeed, recognizing women’s contributions has long been a significant part of the struggle to achieve full citizenship rights. Alderson 2008 provides a critical appraisal of dominant images of children as passive and dependent, and, drawing on feminist and green theories, presents a way forward to consider children as active contributors and citizens. Levison 2000 particularly points at the exclusion of children’s agency for economic theory. Invernizzi 2008 stresses the significance of working children’s contributions in economic and social terms and shows how dominant concepts of childhood—of work, but also narrow approaches to participation—deny them proper recognition as agents and citizens.

  • Alderson, Priscilla. “When Does Citizenship Begin? Economics and Early Childhood.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 108–119. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    This chapter by Alderson challenges the dominant image of young children as dependent on adults and presents clear examples that illustrate how children contribute to families and communities. She simultaneously points out the denial of children’s contribution and of work caring for them. Referring to feminist and green economist theories, she challenges both images of children and the economy that allow exclusion from citizenship.

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  • Invernizzi, Antonella. “Everyday Lives of Working Children and Notions of citizenship.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 131–141. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    Invernizzi is referring to working children’s experiences, and she argues that notions of citizenship too often only account for formal and top-down approaches where children are looked at in isolation, suggesting that an expansion should consider inclusion of their struggles and definitions of their problems. She shows how controversial the notion of citizenship can be.

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  • Levison, Deborah. “Children as Economic Agents.” Feminist Economics 1 (2000): 125–134.

    DOI: 10.1080/135457000337732Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Levison shows that children have preferences that perhaps differ systematically from those of adults. She argues that a children’s point of view should be accepted by academics and activists and incorporated into policy targeting children and families. Economics has not considered children as agents because of their lack of power in relation to adults, and this approach should be explored.

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Child Participation, Active Citizenship, and Political Rights

Children’s participation receives considerable attention within the children’s rights arena and in the development of notions of citizenship. Initially the concept was wrongly understood in terms of adult political rights, for children’s participation as per the CRC does not contemplate political franchise, which is looked at separately. Children’s social movements are an important point of entry into active citizenship, which differs from participation (see Liebel 2008 and Liebel, et al. 2001, cited under Active Citizenship). Experiences of active citizenship, whether recognized as such or not, are detailed in the literature.

Child Participation

According to Van Beers, et al. 2006, the examination of participation has largely drawn on Article 12 of the CRC, often neglecting other relevant articles. For these authors, adopting a critical position is necessary to promote participation beyond what has been done so far. With this in mind, this section introduces readings on participation in terms of practical and theoretical considerations, including both positive and critical views. Van Beers, et al. 2006 introduces a number of key readings on participation that illustrate the diversity of experiences and theorizations. Hart 1992 presents the ladder of participation that has largely contributed to promoting an understanding of participation beyond tokenistic experiences. Johnson, et al. 1998 is a key compilation of analyses and experiences across disciplines and geographical areas. Percy-Smith and Thomas 2010 presents a more recent collection of analyses, concepts, and debates in relation to children’s participation in various countries. Tisdall, et al. 2006 presents a critical appraisal of participation and social inclusion. Invernizzi and Milne 2002 provides a critical analysis of the child labor international agenda and suggests there is a crisis within the children’s rights agenda regarding the implementation of the participation agenda. Hinton 2008 also critically identifies the problems that a sectorialized knowledge poses, whether in terms of cleavages among disciplines or in relation to geographical areas. Tisdall 2008 critically examines children’s experiences of participation, specifically in the United Kingdom.

  • Van Beers, Henk, Antonella Invernizzi, and Brian Milne, eds. Beyond Article 12: Essential Readings in Children’s Participation. Bangkok: Knowing Children, 2006.

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    This is a compilation of key readings on children’s participation that offers an overview beyond what is usually said in reference to Article 12. It includes a section on participation and citizenship.

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  • Hart, Roger. Children’s Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship. Innocenti Essays 4. Florence: UNICEF, 1992.

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    Arnstein’s original concept of a ladder of citizen participation (see Arnstein 1969, cited under Notions of “Adult” Citizenship) was adapted by Hart for this text to be applied to children. “Hart’s ladder” became one of the most influential and widely used tools describing the meaning of children’s participation. The subtitle, From Tokenism to Citizenship, is approached in a manner that provides a base for much of the work on participation, although the notion of citizenship itself is not developed.

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  • Hinton, Rachel. “Children’s Participation and Good Governance: Limitations of the Theoretical Literature.” International Journal of Children’s Rights 16.3 (2008): 285–300.

    DOI: 10.1163/157181808X311141Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Hinton views children as an important stakeholder group, constituting 34 percent of the world’s population, and whose actions determine our collective future. This paper summarizes debates around children’s participation and argues that there has been little dialogue across academic fields. The history of children’s participation in the Global South is just starting to inform a view of children as “active citizens” in the North, and thus poses questions as a medium for further debate.

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  • Invernizzi, Antonella, and Brian Milne. “Are Children Entitled to Contribute to International Policy Making? A Critical View of Children’s Participation in the International Campaign for the Elimination of Child Labour.” International Journal of Children’s Rights 10.4 (2002): 403–431.

    DOI: 10.1163/157181802100380735Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This paper suggests a crisis within children’s rights is to be found in relation to participatory rights that describe children’s role in civil society. The most significant manifestation of that crisis is seen in the world of working children. The authors’ examination of participation uses child labor as an illustration.

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  • Johnson, Victoria, Edda Ivan-Smith, Gill Gordon, Pat Pridmore, and Patta Scott, eds. Stepping Forward, Children and Young People’s Participation in the Development Process. London: Intermediate Technology, 1998.

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    This is a classic work on children’s participation across disciplines and geographical areas. The authors examine ethical dilemmas that professions working with child participation are confronted with, the process and methods used in participatory research and planning, the interconnection between culture and child participation, and qualities of programming for participation with children.

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  • Percy-Smith, Barry, and Nigel Thomas, eds. A Handbook of Children’s Participation: Perspectives from Theory and Practice. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.

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    This is an overview of theory and practice in participation that introduces key concepts and debates and looks at various ways in which children’s participation is understood and occurs worldwide. It includes theoretical contributions aiming to move an understanding of children’s participation forward.

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  • Tisdall, Kay. “Is the Honeymoon Over? Children and Young People’s Participation in Public Decision-Making.” International Journal of Children’s Rights 16.3 (July 2008): 419–429.

    DOI: 10.1163/157181808X311240Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Tisdall’s article looks at participation of children and young people in “public” decision making, which has gained policy importance recently. while children’s rights to participate are increasingly recognized in the United Kingdom by those making government policy and legislation and those who provide services, this article asks whether it is clear what the purpose of participation is and whether it is meaningful.

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  • Tisdall, Kay, John Davis, Malcolm Hill, and Alan Prout, eds. Children, Young People and Social Inclusion: Participation for What? Bristol, UK: Policy Press, 2006.

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    This collection looks at how far and in what ways policies for social inclusion live up to the needs and rights of children and young people. The contributors are from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, including education, geography, sociology, and social policy. This is a critical examination of concepts of participation and social inclusion and how they link with children and childhoods.

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Active Citizenship

The notion of “active citizenship” refers to a variety of practices. As Liebel, et al. 2001 shows, there is a long experience and a number of publications on street and working children’s movements. Some of these movements and organizations have been active in the field for over three decades. In Liebel 2008 an analysis of some of these experiences in terms of citizenship from below is provided. In more recent years, engagement of children as active citizens has been promoted worldwide in community, environmental, and peace initiatives. Carlson and Felton 2011 examines such developments in relation to health, and Fonseca and Bujanda 2011 discusses the use of digital technologies in such programs. Maurás 2011 examines what is needed in public policies to promote active citizenship in Latin America, and Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation 2008 examines the legal foundations for active citizenship. Cordero 2012 identifies the dominant images of childhood originating in northern industrialized countries and embedded in the CRC as a barrier to the empowerment of children. Milne 2005 examines participation and the CRC agenda in light of a possible concept of children’s active citizenship, and identifies the limitations within this human rights instrument. Willow, et al. 2004 presents a thorough examination of experiences of participation with young children and underlines the importance of a broader approach to understand young children as citizens.

  • Carlson, Mary, and Felton, Earls. “Adolescents as Deliberative Citizens: Building Health Competence in Local Communities.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 223–242.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383648Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Carlson and Earls present experiences in developmental and social sciences. Recognition of agency and the capability of a child, plus active and lasting sources of socialization within the community were project bases. Participatory rights in the CRC served as a driving force and inspiration for the Young Citizens Program, which began as a small-scale set of selected groups in Chicago and grew into a controlled random cluster trial in northern Tanzania.

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  • Cordero Arce, Matías. “Towards an Emancipatory Discourse of Children’s Rights.” International Journal of Children’s Rights 20.3 (2012): 365–421.

    DOI: 10.1163/157181812X637127Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    In this text, Cordero Arce adopts a radical approach to rights as tools of empowerment. In his view, the dominant children’s rights discourse, as presented in the CRC, is in no way child empowering, since it owes conferral of those rights to a particular Euro-American adult understanding that pictures the child as ignorant, innocent, and needy, whereby a child’s human rights are granted as an indulgence by adults.

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  • Fonseca, Clotilde, and Maria Eugenia Bujanda. “Promoting Children’s Capacities for Active and Deliberative Citizenship with Digital Technologies: The CADE Project in Costa Rica.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 243–262.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383657Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Fonseca and Bujanda look at core aspects of the experience of the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica, where a set of citizenship education programs based on the concept of children as citizens, and particularly at the role of digital technologies in the promotion of children’s skills. They analyze the outcomes and lessons learned.

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  • Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation. Children as Active Citizens. Bangkok: Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation, 2008.

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    This report was written for the Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation (IAWGCP) on the basis of the rights of children probably being the least understood and most challenging to realize. The CRC is the first international human rights instrument to recognize and specifically provide civil rights and freedoms. Eight articles relating directly to civil rights and freedoms are considered and examined in detail.

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  • Liebel, Manfred, Bernd Overwien, and Albert Rechnagel, eds. Working Children Protagonism: Social Movements and Empowerment in Latin America, Africa and India. Frankfurt: IKO-Verlag für Interkulturelle Kommunikation, 2001.

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    Liebel and colleagues present a number of key experiences and conceptualizations of social movements and organizations gathering working children. This includes concepts of protagonismo, the approach organizations share.

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  • Liebel, Manfred. “Citizenship from Below: Children’s Rights and Social Movements.” In Children and Citizenship. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Jane Williams, 32–43. London: SAGE, 2008.

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    Liebel examines experiences of children’s movement in the light of the republican model of children’s active citizenship, what he calls “citizenship from below.” Rather than being a question of adults providing children with opportunities for participation, citizenship from below is better examined as social movements through the lens of the protagonismo approach that emerged within working children’s movements.

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  • Maurás, Marta. “Public Policies and Child Rights: Entering the Third Decade of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 52–65.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210382993Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Maurás looks at legal reforms required to adapt national law to the CRC in order to make space for changes in other key areas of public action, such as economic and social policy and public participation that includes children, in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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  • Milne, Brian. “Is ‘Participation’ as It Is Described by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) the Key to Children’s Citizenship.” In Children’s Citizenship: An Emergent Discourse on the Rights of the Child. Special Edition 9, Journal of Social Sciences. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Brian Milne, 31–42. Delhi: Kamla-Raj, 2005.

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    Milne asks what is actually intended by the term “participation” as described by the CRC. He briefly examines a range of ideas that include philosophical and social scientific theories that have contributed to the notion of the adult citizen and may hold the key to exploration of the possibility of children’s rights being the means by which they may eventually gain access to full citizenship.

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  • Willow, Carolyne, Ruth Marchant, Perpetua Kirby, and Neale Bren. Young Children’s Citizenship: Ideas into Practice. York, UK: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2004.

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    Willow, Marchant, Kirby, and Bren set out to present a concept for recognizing and respecting children’s citizenship. The examine ways in which this notion can be implanted into everyday practices and relationships between adults and young children, and offer recommendations on practical issues to be addressed in professional policy and practice.

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Political Rights

The discussion of political rights in relation to children is relatively old (see Historical Perspectives and Children’s Liberation) as well as controversial. Work carried out prior to the CRC is of particular interest in placing the notion of citizenship closer to adult citizenship and questioning the exclusion of children and young people from political rights (see, for instance, Franklin 1986, cited under Theoretical Issues). Coles 1986 is a detailed analysis of children’s political life well beyond what is usually understood as children’s participation. Exclusion from franchise is examined also in Lecce 2009, and exclusion from participation is addressed in Lister 2007 and Wall and Dar 2011. Torney-Purta and Amadeo 2011 argues that a political vote at national level is not a key dimension of citizenship, and that other niches have to be found for young people. Rehfeld 2011 proposes way forward to promote participation to defend children’s interests and promote political maturity. Cunningham and Lavalette 2004 points out how political activity, when applied to children and young people, is understood rather as disorder and rule breaking, and Wyness 2005 provides an analysis of two forms of political representation in England, identifying the limitations of the models implemented.

  • Coles, Robert. The Political Life of Children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986.

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    Coles demonstrates how children learn much more than we think they do about political issues. On the basis of it always being taken for granted that parents teach children about language, religion, and morality, he demonstrates how adults contribute to an understanding of their political life. He particularly explores young people’s budding political consciousness.

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  • Cunningham, S., and M. Lavalette. “‘Active Citizens’ or ‘Irresponsible Truants’? School Student Strikes against the War.” Critical Social Policy 24.3 (2004): 255–269.

    DOI: 10.1177/0261018304042002Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Cunningham and Lavalette point out the disparate assessment of active citizenship. Where young people’s involvement in political action should be accepted as active citizenship, their involvement in strikes against war is “admonished” and punished.

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  • Lecce, Steven. “Should Democracy Grow up? Children and Voting Rights.” Intergenerational Justice Review 9.4 (2009): 133–138.

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    Lecce’s article examines whether or not children’s continued electoral exclusion is morally justifiable. There is tension between egalitarian assumptions of democracy and reluctance to grant children voting rights. The author calls this social injustice. He examines theoretical difficulties that childhood creates in relation to democracy, and then assesses the implications of two very different approaches to democracy for children’s voting rights.

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  • Lister, Ruth. “From Object to Subject: Including Marginalised Citizens in Policy Making.” Policy and Politics 35.3 (2007): 437–455.

    DOI: 10.1332/030557307781571579Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Lister begins with an account of values that might underpin an inclusive model of citizenship, and then discusses it in terms of participation in policymaking. She refers to two groups who are named objects of policymaking but are marginalized in the process: people living in poverty, and children. She concludes by linking the discussion to the idea of social justice, understood as embodying relations of recognition and distribution.

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  • Rehfeld, Andrew. “The Child as Democratic Citizen.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 141–166.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210383656Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Rehfeld believes the CRC goes too far in prioritizing welfare over participation. He argues that participatory institutions should be designed to promote the interests of children, develop their political maturity, and lessen the harm that giving power to the politically immature might cause. Three institutional designs that might achieve this result are discussed, as is how federalism might help to implement them.

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  • Torney-Purta, Judith, and Jo-Ann Amadeo. “Participatory Niches for Emergent Citizenship in Early Adolescence: An International Perspective.” In Special Issue: The Child as a Citizen. Edited by Felton J. Earls. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 633 (January 2011): 180–200.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716210384220Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Torney-Purta and Amadeo’s article suggests that “the right to vote in national elections is not an essential dimension of citizenship for young people on condition that adolescents’ other competences and outlooks are taken care of in their normal life settings.” It examines political and civic participation from three perspectives.

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  • Wall, John, and Anandini Dar. “Children’s Political Representation: The Right to Make a Difference.” The International Journal of Children’s Rights 19.4 (September 2011): 595–612.

    DOI: 10.1163/157181811X547263Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Wall and Dar examine significant gains in children’s rights that have been made recently, and the look at how children and youth continue to exercise relatively little power in determining the nature of their societies’ rights. They set out to look at what it could mean for children to have the benefit of real political representation. This is particularly seen as the right not only to exercise autonomy, but also to make a political difference.

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  • Wyness, Michael. “Regulating Participation: the Possibilities and Limits of Children and Young People’s Councils.”’ In Children’s Citizenship: An Emergent Discourse on the Rights of the Child. Special Edition 9, Journal of Social Sciences. Edited by Antonella Invernizzi and Brian Milne, 7–18. Delhi: Kamla-Raj, 2005.

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    This paper from Wyness offers a case study of participatory structures for children and young people in the United Kingdom, showing how these spaces are adult-regulated. It poses general questions such as whether children and young people’s interests can ever be incorporated fully into adult-regulated structures.

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Children’s and Young People’s Views on Citizenship

Children’s citizenship literature includes remarkably few empirical studies on children and young people’s views, although some research has been carried out in recent years. Given the multifaceted nature of citizenship, research has adopted different stances. Hine 2004 examines children’s understanding of rights and duties at the community level. Lister, et al. 2003 explores young people’s definitions of citizenship, which are conceptualized around five models. Taylor and Smith 2009 is an examination of children’s comprehension of the key components of citizenship.

  • Hine, Jean. Children and Citizenship. Home Office Online Report 08/04. London: UK Home Office, 2004.

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    The objective of Hine’s research is to examine children’s understanding of rights and responsibilities. Emphasis is particularly on an exploration of the notion of civic responsibility, describing children’s feelings of belonging and inclusion, opportunities they have to contribute to their communities, and determining their involvement in anti- and prosocial activities.

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  • Lister, Ruth, Noel Smith, Sue Middleton, and Lynne Cox. “Young People Talk about Citizenship: Empirical Perspectives on Theoretical and Political Debates.” Citizenship Studies 7.2 (2003): 235–253.

    DOI: 10.1080/1362102032000065991Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Lister, Smith, Middleton and Cox examine how young people in a British city identify citizenship, as well as their transition to becoming citizens. Five models are presented. The foremost is “universal status,” followed by “respectable economic independence,” then “constructive social participation,” and, less often, “social-contractual,” and finally “right to a voice.” The degree to which young people identify themselves as citizens reflects these models and their life experience.

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  • Taylor, Nicola, and Anne B. Smith, eds. Children as Citizens?: International Voices. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 2009.

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    Taylor and Smith examine key components of this concept, including rights to respect and recognition, opportunity to belong and have significant participation in society, right to express opinions and have them taken into account, and accomplishment of duties to others. They report on research with children and young people in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, and South Africa.

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