Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

A Political Space for Children? The Age Order and Children’s Right to Participation

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Abstract:  This article discusses how adulthood is naturalized and how adulthood norms set limits on the possibilities of including children in democratic processes and understanding them as political subjects. The article examines the kind of resistance children and youth can meet when participating in democratic processes, with examples of speech acts from the Gothenburg Youth Council. It also discusses the theoretic concept of childism (Wall, 2008, 2010) and how childism can be a way to escape the dominance of adulthood norms. The concept of childism means addressing children’s experiences by transforming understandings and practices for all humans, not only for non-adults. How is it possible to create a political space for children and involve children in defining what should count as politically important?

Keywords:  adulthood norms; age order; childism; participation; youth council



© Jeanette Sundhall. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.