The relevance of ‘competence’ for enhancing or limiting children’s participation: unpicking conceptual confusion

Moran-Ellis, Jo and Tisdall, E Kay M (2019) The relevance of ‘competence’ for enhancing or limiting children’s participation: unpicking conceptual confusion. Global Studies of Childhood, 9 (3). pp. 212-223. ISSN 2043-6106

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Recent debates about children’s participation rights, formulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, primarily focus on ‘effectiveness’ of implementation. However, children’s participation remains problematic, its limited impact on adult power in decision-making or on the nature of decisions made persists, and reservations about children’s competence as participants are implicated in both. In respect of this, we analysed conceptualisations of competence in 67 articles, published between 2007 and 2017 in six childhood studies’ journals, where ‘competence’ and its variations appear in the abstract. Although competence is rarely defined, conceptualisations were wide-ranging, covering competence as skills, as compliance with adult views, and as a trope signalling the field of childhood studies. As a result of our findings, we argue that epistemological clarity is vital for this concept to be useful regarding children’s participation and that attention must be paid to the different kinds of competence relevant for ‘effective’ participation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: competence; social actors; childhood; children’s rights; participation
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0697 Protection, assistance and relief > HV0700 Special classes > HV0713 Children
Depositing User: Joanna Moran-Ellis
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2019 11:15
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2020 09:44

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