Recognizing children as citizens: can this enhance solidarity?

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Smith, AB 2012, 'Recognizing children as citizens: can this enhance solidarity?', in E Johansson & D Berthelsen (eds), Spaces for solidarity and individualism in educational contexts, Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, Göteborg, Sweden. ISBN: 9789173467186


The concept of solidarity overlaps with a contemporary perspective on citizenship for children, as both emphasize meaningful participation and mutual obligation. Children’s citizenship involves entitlement to respect and recognition, opportunities for belonging and meaningful participation, the right to express voice and agency, and the fulfillment of duties to others. This chapter offers a theoretical interpretation of citizenship, relating it to solidarity, and drawing on sociocultural and childhood studies theories. The chapter argues that children learn about citizenship and solidarity through participation in communities of practice with shared goals. If schools are to promote children’s understanding of, and capacity for solidarity and citizenship, they should recognize them as capable agents who can contribute collectively and individually to solving the serious problems that face their society and the planet.