Trust and power in social and pedagogical work with children: Theorizing (adult's facilitation of) children's participation and citizenship
Department of Society and Globalisation Roskilde University Roskilde, Denmark
This paper theorizes the relation between trust, power, participation and citizenship in social and pedagogical work with children. The point of departure is acknowledgement of participation as a fundamental right of citizenship, combined with the empirical observation, that children - in distinct ways - narrate (mis)trust, (dis)empowerment, and degrees of participation and citizenship as interconnected.
Five theoretical approaches are examined for their contribution to a theoretical understanding of the relation between trust, power, participation and citizenship in social and pedagogical work with children, namely Gerald Delanty's conceptualisation of citizenship, Niklas Luhmann's conceptualisation of trust, Axel Honneth's theory of recognition, Pierre Bourdieu's theory of practice and Michel Foucaults conceptualisation of neo-liberal governance, i.e. governmentality. It is suggested that these theories, together - though from one perspective mutual complementary - constitute a complex and comprehensive theorizing of the relation between trust, power, participation and citizenship in social and pedagogical work with children, as these theories together offers a framework for critical analysis of trust and power in adult's facilitation of children's participation and citizenship, addressing different levels of participation (cf. Hart's ladder of participation) and various dimensions of citizenship.