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Understanding Children’s Participation through an Eliasian Lens: Habitus as a Barrier to Children’s Everyday Participation Rights

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
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In spite of the rhetoric of children’s participation in the public sphere, in their everyday life interactions young children’s rights continue to be denied or given entitlement on the basis of assumptions about the social category to which they belong, and opportunities continue to be missed to make links between the everyday and the societal, political and legal contexts by those wishing to further children’s participation rights. Drawing on the sociology of Norbert Elias, particularly his concept of “habitus” and “drag effect” we will explore the dissonance between the public and private status of young children’s rights and suggest ways that this might be remedied. The paper will conclude by arguing that it is important to work towards young children’s increased participation rights in their everyday lives because adults must acknowledge young children’s moral competence to participate in decisions about their everyday lives in order to develop children’s agency to do so.

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