Participation with purpose

Liam Cairns

in Children, young people and social inclusion

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9781861346629
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301820 | DOI:
Participation with purpose

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Despite progress in the rhetorical commitment to the political rights of children and young people, in terms of their ability to influence the political agenda, little has changed in reality. This chapter argues that in order to make progress in promoting change in reality, greater clarity is needed about the purpose of initiatives that purport to promote children and young people's participation. It contends that it is important to consider purpose from the standpoint of children and young people themselves. From this perspective, the standards that apply are a mixture of democratic legitimacy, inclusion and efficacy. Models based on adult representational democracy have dubious democratic legitimacy. Whereas there is universal adult suffrage, there is no equivalent children's suffrage, so building structures that mimic adult structures cannot meet the requirements of a system of universal participation rights.

Keywords: child participation; social inclusion; political rights; suffrage

Chapter.  7085 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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