© 2017

Conditional Citizens

Rethinking Children and Young People’s Participation


  • 15 case studies from around the world that provide readers with tangible examples of what children and young people’s participation can look like

  • Three in-depth critiques of popular buzzwords that provide readers with critical tools for rethinking their own work with/on children and young people

  • An accessible overview of the role of key global processes, institutions and discourses


Part of the Perspectives on Children and Young People book series (PCYP, volume 5)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Children and Young People’s Participation at the Macro-Level

  3. Children and Young People’s Participation at the Micro-Level

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 121-147

About this book


This book challenges readers to recognise the conditions that underpin popular approaches to children and young people’s participation, as well as the key processes and institutions that have enabled its rise as a global force of social change in new times. The book draws on the vast international literature, as well as interviews with key practitioners, policy-makers, activists, delegates and academics from Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Nicaragua, Australia, the United Kingdom, Finland, the United States and Italy to examine the emergence of the young citizen as a key global priority in the work of the UN, NGOs, government and academia. In so doing, the book engages contemporary and interdisciplinary debates around citizenship, rights, childhood and youth to examine the complex conditions through which children and young people are governed and invited to govern themselves.

The book argues that much of what is considered ‘children and young people’s participation’ today is part of a wider neoliberal project that emphasises an ideal young citizen who is responsible and rational while simultaneously downplaying the role of systemic inequality and potentially reinforcing rather than overcoming children and young people’s subjugation. Yet the book also moves beyond mere critique and offers suggestive ways to broaden our understanding of children and young people’s participation by drawing on 15 international examples of empirical research from around the world, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, North America, Finland, South Africa, Australia and Latin America. These examples provoke practitioners, policy-makers and academics to think differently about children and young people and the possibilities for their participatory citizenship beyond that which serves the political agendas of dominant interest groups.


children and young people childhood studies youth studies children and young people’s participation children and young people’s citizenship children and young people’s rights children and young people’s geographies children, young people and social change citizenship and governance sociology of education critical pedagogy participatory research participatory development international development community development

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationUniversity of Otago College of EducationDunedinNew Zealand

About the authors

Dr Catherine Hartung is a Lecturer at the University of Otago College of Education in Dunedin, New Zealand. She teaches and researches at the cross-section of issues related to children and young people, social justice, citizenship, rights, wellbeing, and diversity. Her work is interdisciplinary, but at its core is a concern with how various educational, cultural, and political institutions govern children and young people, as well as the ways that children and young people negotiate and resist this institutional governance. 

Bibliographic information

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