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The main method of these projects involved qualitative open ended interviews with children. In the project about child consultation, these interviews were supplemented by interview with parents and the consulters see Warming, I think that children should have more of a say in things. The boy, on the other hand, regarded the consultation as window-dressing, as at the end of the day his views had not been taken into account.

The lesson to be learned here is that there are different kinds of participation, and that not all of them involve influence over decision-making.


Decoration: Use of children to bolster a cause without pretending that the cause is inspired by children. Tokenism: Children seemingly have a voice, but in fact have little or no influence. Consulted and informed: Children give advice to projects or programs and volunteer as advisers after the project, and their role has been explained to them.

Adult-initiated, shared decisions with young people: Adult-initiated programs and projects in which children are involved in decision-making. Initiated and directed by young people: Child-initiated and directed programs and projects in which adults play a supportive role. Initiated by young people, shared decisions with adults: Child-initiated and directed programs and projects in which decision-making is shared between children and adults. The consultation with the boy quoted above may be categorized as somewhere between rungs three and four.

In the following, we will examine the generative dynamics of these features, starting with an empirical example. Kasper is a 17 year old boy who desperately wants to move to his own place. According to his case worker, this is out of the question, since Kasper is far too immature and thus unable to take care of himself.

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change

Kasper has a long history in care with many disrupted and unsuccessful placements in foster families and residential homes. He realizes that moving out to live on his own will be a great challenge, and that he will need professional adult supervision, but insists that he cannot stand living in residential homes and foster families any longer. But I never had a chance! All my life there has been somebody keeping an eye on me, and telling me what I was like. It makes me so angry. The message from the case worker is that Kasper has not qualified for participation.

If he wants influence, he must discipline himself in accordance with norms for behavior appropriate of a grown-up well-adjusted citizen. Thus in this case, participation is turned into a means of disciplining and controlling, i. In other words, participation is colonized by governmental agendas. The term reveals childhood as a socially constructed structural position in the social order rather than just a life phase.

According to Bourdieu, the position of a social group in the social order is a result of historical power struggles over visions and divisions Bourdieu, Divisions include the distribution of goods as well as social constructions established through relational definitions. Regarding the generational order: The definition of children as incompetent, irresponsible, vulnerable becomings in contrast to adults as competent, responsible, robust beings.

These have to do both with challenges to, and the tenacity of, relational definitions of children and adults. Historically, the becoming view on children has constituted a doxa, i. For decades, this doxa has informed the perceptual categories of agents in the field, and has thus been integrated into legislation, practice and research through habitual dispositions and institutional pathways. Because the becoming view of children is so deeply rooted, the serious and persistent challenges from proponents of the being view result in ambiguity rather than fundamental changes.

Since the s, the public sector throughout the world a set of changes for the purpose of economic effectiveness, also called the NPM wave. Despite widespread criticism of the NPM strategy and proclamations of its decline or even death Dunleaby et. In the light of the existence of such structuring logics in social work, we can interpret the way in which the social worker responds to Kasper as follows: The focus of her concerns regarding Kasper is his mal-adjustedness.

Therefore, she wants him to stay in a place, where someone can keep an eye on him or, even better, discipline him. The fact that Kasper does not like to be there, and cannot not stand living in residential homes and foster care any longer, i. Much less so than other characteristics of NPM, such as the valorisation of evidence-based knowledge over everyday life experience and practice-based knowledge and time pressure Smith, ; Ruch, , which support the not listening attitude of the social worker.

With regard to time, the economic rationale of effectiveness and the demands for documentation in the field of social work have reduced the time that social workers can spend with each client, as each social worker has more clients and spends an increasing amount of their time doing paperwork. What the social worker needs is a categorisation of Kasper, a risk assessment of whether and how he might fail to become a well-adjusted future citizen, based on which she can take evidence-based action to meet this risk.

Though the case worker does need to talk with Kasper, as in Denmark this is an important performance indicator, there are no structural incentives to listen and provide responsive social support. This is not to claim that social workers never listen to children — there are several examples of them doing so e. The point is that when they do, it is in defiance of the structural incentives. In the following, I will expand on why this is particularly salient regarding some groups of children.

Historically, in the Danish case, these fields have primarily been childhood and family, but increasingly they also include the field of the integration of immigrants and refugees. The field of childhood and the field of social work share an ambiguity, and ongoing struggles, between rationales of control, discipline, care, recognition and empowerment. Further, similar to the generational order division between children and adults, the field of social work operates on the basis of a division between clients as objects of assistance, discipline and control; and professionals as the authorities that administer assistance, discipline and control.

The intersecting logics of these different fields can explain why children, who are in contact with the social authorities, positioned as simultaneously child and client, both in need of care, more often than other children are overruled.

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Rather than neutralizing one another, these two positions intersect in a negative and disempowering way: The client child is not only positioned as a child, but as a deviant and maybe less mature child compared to other children with a higher risk of not becoming a future well-adjusted citizen. This issue was raised by a child who actually experienced being involved and heard by some adults - but not those in the most powerful positions:.

Civic Responsibility

This is partly because they are in this position as a result of their habitual dispositions, and partly because they socialize — and are forced to do so if they do not wish to exclude themselves - through internalizing the logic of the field. Several critical analyses of developments in the public sector e. In line with a post-structuralist line of thought, I suggest that this is due to their being many — sometimes mutually conflicting discourses - circulating, thus constructing the different fields as complex and contested social spaces. Full citizenship comprises more rights than just the right of participation.

Amsterdam Law Forum

Later we will return to the cultural dimension of citizenship, including cultural rights. Civil rights include equal treatment before the law, rights of contract and property, and freedom from constraint by the state. Cockburn, writing about British childhood in , illustrates this:. Children are either under the direct responsibility of their parents, or, in exceptional circumstances, the state, as in the detection or suspicion of abuse or where people are placed in the position of in loco parentis.

Moreover, as argued earlier, in practice it seems to be further moderated if children are client children or have a minority background, identified as especially being at risk of not becoming well-adjusted future citizens. Neither do children enjoy full freedom from state constraints, as they have a legal duty to receive schooling, which in Denmark during the last decade has tended to include a duty to attend day care institutions in the case of ethnic minority children. Political rights include the right to vote, the right of association and the right to participate in the central organs of government.

Joining such bodies demands a kind of disciplining in itself, as these often work based on the principles of adult governing bodies — and these principles fit very badly with the habitus of disadvantaged and socially excluded children. Marshall argued that children did possess social rights, and pointed to the right to education, social services and a minimum of economic welfare and security.

Thus schooling constitutes an example of how governance interests in childhood colonize rights and convert them into discipline and responsibilities. This includes all children, however the effect is diverse depending on the good will, competences and resources of the adults, which the child is dependent on. In a European perspective, the risk of poverty among children is, in general, higher than among the population as a whole. Altogether, children do have social rights in form of the right to schooling which is not only a right, but also a duty and a minimum of economic welfare and security, however in practice these rights are very unequally distributed thus having serious drawbacks for children from families on low incomes and having a low level of education.

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Cockburn argues that the citizen rights identified by Marshall must be supplemented with the right to care. The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this section , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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