Children & youth
Education & Educational Research
Rhetoric and composition
Right Wing Politics
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AbstractChildren's participation initiatives have been increasingly introduced within various institutional jurisdictions around the world, partly in response to Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Such initiatives have been critically evaluated from a number of different angles. This article engages with an avenue of critique which argues that children's participatory initiatives resonate with a neoliberal economic and political context that prioritises middle class, western individualism and ultimately fosters children's deeper subjugation through self-governance. Respecting these as legitimate concerns, this article draws on two counter-positions to argue that while children's participation can certainly be conceptualised and practised in ways that reflect neo-liberal, individualised self-governance, it does not necessarily do so. To make this argument I engage, on the one hand, with Foucault's work on the care of the self, and on the other, with more collective approaches to participation.