Children’s Participation: Definitions, Narratives and Disputes

  • Michael Wyness
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


This chapter maps out the research field for children’s participation, which has arguably become a research orthodoxy within childhood studies. It discusses a dominant narrative of children’s participation, which determines the way in which participation is organised and understood within the public realm. It outlines two narratives that challenge the assumptions made within the dominant narrative. It focuses on a critical narrative in terms of the institutional, elitist and adult-driven nature of current arrangements and practices of children’s participation. A further challenge comes from an emergent narrative that emphasises more recent research on the multidimensional, context-specific and relational features of children’s participation. The final section draws on a Rawlsian framework within which we can interrogate contemporary theory and practice on children’s participation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Wyness
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryUK

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