Experiences and aspirations for how we live citizenship
Social Work University of Central Lancashire Taurinya, France
From May 2008 to February 2009 the research project: Children, Citizenship and Europe, has worked with fifty-five children from marginalized groups: gypsy travellers, young carers, disabled, minority ethnic, looked after and refugees. Taking place in Wales and France with children aged 5 to 13 years, the research processes supported these children to reflect upon their experiences and aspirations for lived citizenship. Using words, action, videos and pictures, each group explored, reviewed and created a series of claims for rights, responsibilities, respect, membership and change.
This paper will explore the children?s citizenship claims with reference to the following questions:
What rights did children from all participating groups deem important and what rights were group specific?
What responsibilities did they hold?
What did they see as enabling or impeding their experience of the lived citizenship they aspired to?
The paper will then discuss the issues raised by the children?s research in the context of existing interpretations of children?s citizenship. Echoing much of the literature(e.g. Lister (2008)), but from their perspective, examination of the participating children?s research suggests that understandings of children?s citizenship might be furthered by consideration of the interplay between issues of access and resources; respect, recognition and fairness; and participation.
References: Lister, R. (2008) 'Unpacking Children's Citizenship' in Children and Citizenship, A. Invernizzi & J. Williams, eds., Sage, London.