The development of individual agency

Carolus van Nijnatten

in Children's agency, children's welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9781847424891
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301837 | DOI:
The development of individual agency

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This chapter covers the process of entering into human society, which all children undergo. It also investigates how the individual agency of children arises through interaction with caretakers. Children's narratives are the outcome of dialogical negotiations between different ‘positions’ within the child itself and between the child and other individuals. People around the child play a major role in the development of the will. The first words the child speaks indicate present objects and persons. The limitation of desire plays an important role in the child's development. Imaginary and symbolic positions so crucial to the child's development, and they demand two types of parental reaction. Dialogue is the very instrument needed to regain continuity and to gain a new sense of meaning and meaningfulness.

Keywords: human society; individual agency; child development; parental reaction; dialogue

Chapter.  8619 words. 

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