Thomas, Nigel Patrick
Love, rights and solidarity: studying children's participation using Honneth's theory of recognition.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0907568211434604
Recent attempts to theorize children’s participation have drawn on a wide range of ideas, concepts and models from political and social theory. The aim of this article is to explore the specific usefulness of Honneth’s theory of a ‘struggle for recognition’ in thinking about this area of practice. The article identifies what is distinctive about Honneth’s theory of recognition, and how it differs from other theories of recognition. It then considers the relevance of Honneth’s conceptual framework to the social position of children, including those who may be involved in a variety of ‘participatory’ activities.
It looks at how useful Honneth’s ideas are in direct engagement with young people’s praxis, drawing on ethnographic research with members of a children and young people’s forum. The article concludes by reflecting on the implications of this theoretical approach and the further questions which it opens up for theories of participation and of adult–child relations more generally.
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