It has already been established that the social studies of childhood regard children’s voices as credible and worthy of being listened to. Indeed, James and Prout (1997) go as far as to suggest that the inclusion of their voices is a matter of need and right. As a consequence, the drive to give children a voice, to make their voices heard and understood is well documented in academic literature. However, Lewis (2008:14) describes the search for children’s voices as a ‘powerful moral crusade’, and she argues that since this quest has gathered such a pace, it has persuaded researchers that innovative means of gathering voices produce data that is authentic, realistic and representative of all children. She goes on to suggest that its assumed relationship with truth and experience has privileged the concept of voice in qualitative enquiry. We agree with this sentiment and also believe that this approach does little to engage critically with methodological and epistemological limits of voice. Even as self-confessed gatherers of children’s voices, we have come to question the ethical positions of those who claim to represent others’ voices; who interpret personal accounts; and who sort and sieve data. Through undertaking research of our own, we have come to understand that it is within these very processes that conventional voices and those that are the most easily heard and understood are privileged, and those whose voices are harder to seek and to hear remain marginalised.
KeywordsYoung People Young Participant Disable Child Collective Identity Adoptive Parent
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