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The Politics of Child Participation in International Development: The Dilemma of Agency


  • Sarah White
  • Shyamol Choudhury


This paper explores the politics of agency expressed through child participation in international development. Empirically it focuses on Bangladesh, highlighting in particular the experience of one children's organisation. It asks how dynamics have changed over time, and what participation has meant for the children and their families. It raises three major challenges for the current practice of child participation: the need to re-emphasise the priority of survival rights; the danger of 'projectisation', and the need to pay critical attention to the resources through which children's agency is built, and the very different models of development they reflect. Cet article s'intéresse à la politique portant sur le rôle des enfants en tant qu'acteurs du développement international. De façon empirique, il se base sur le cas du Bangladesh, en s'appuyant sur l'expérience d'une organisation pour la protection de l'enfance. Il considère l'évolution au fil du temps ainsi que les conséquences de la participation sur les enfants et leurs familles. L'étude met en avant trois défis importants dans la pratique actuelle de la politique de la participation des enfants: le besoin de souligner à nouveau la priorité du droit de l'enfant à la survie, le danger de la « projetisation » et l'importance d'accorder une attention critique aux ressources permettant de construire la capacité d'action des enfants ainsi qu'aux modèles de développement très différents que celles-ci reflètent.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah White & Shyamol Choudhury, 2007. "The Politics of Child Participation in International Development: The Dilemma of Agency," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 19(4), pages 529-550.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjdr:v:19:y:2007:i:4:p:529-550
    DOI: 10.1080/09578810701667508

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