Exploring issues of children as actors in social research
AbstractIn recent years, there has been an increasing focus among childhood researchers on the concept of children's agency, or children as social actors, within research. The argument for the focus on children as 'agents' has commonly critiqued an earlier dominant tradition of research, whereby children had been positioned as passive objects of investigation, with their capacity for social agency largely ignored. This paper provides a theoretical and methodological exploration of the concept of children's agency in the research process. The authors outline conceptual developments that have contributed to the increased focus on children's agency and discuss how this focus has influenced research methods, both in terms of counting children in and researching collaboratively with them. Key elements of a methodological framework for promoting children's agency in collaborative research are outlined and some of the contextual obstacles to the implementation of this framework are discussed, in particular those encountered in attempting to 'balance power relations' between adults and children. The facilitation by adults of children themselves as researchers is identified as a possible way forward. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the extent to which the acknowledgement of children's agency in research may lead to more inclusive policy practices.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.
Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/childyouth
Children Social actors Agency Research;
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