Beyond the Child's Voice: towards an ethics for children's participation rights



I'Anson J (2013) Beyond the Child's Voice: towards an ethics for children's participation rights. Global Studies of Childhood, 3 (2), pp. 104-114.

This article begins by identifying some of the reasons why children are marginalised in adult social and theoretical contexts. Western styles of thinking, whether of a liberal or post-structuralist persuasion, install what the anthropologist Tim Ingold refers to as a 'logic of inversion' that variously complicates, translates and blocks possibilities for the actualisation of children's participation rights. A key strategy to redress the child's social exclusion has been attending to 'the child's voice' in both political and research contexts. Whilst this has led to children's voices becoming heard and innovations in research methods, the extent to which the definition of 'the child's voice' steers clear of the difficulties identified in the first part of this article is questionable. A significant concern is the extent to which researchers, as authors of texts, reinscribe adult interests in the crafting of 'the child's voice' as it appears in their writing. Having problematised some of the ways in which 'the child's voice' has been mobilised in research, the article then addresses some of the ethical responsibilities for adults in moving beyond these limitations. Taking up such responsibility, it is argued, involves new forms of ethical practice that acknowledge the other's subjectivity and the limits of knowing that this implies, together with writing practices that interrupt the appropriation and colonisation of the child's experience.

Global Studies of Childhood: Volume 3, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2013
PublisherSymposium Journals

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Dr John I'Anson

Dr John I'Anson

Senior Lecturer, Education