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    Re-imagining primary school children’s citizenship participation

    Fitzgerald, Caitriona Maria (2019) Re-imagining primary school children’s citizenship participation. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis aims to create new forms of inquiry about younger children’s social realities as citizens at primary school. I recognise children as agentic social actors and as such their lived experience constitutes the central aspect of analysis. The questions which guide this research are: 1. How do younger children ‘do’ citizenship within their peer groups at school? 2. How is children’s citizenship evident in the intersection between their peer group citizenship participation and the structures and practices of the primary school? My findings indicate children are not afforded regular opportunities to participate in decisionmaking processes at school which implies school structure and practices play a key role in facilitating children’s participation. I also found that children’s experiences of (non)participation is socialising them towards the notion that ‘citizenship’ is for adults only. This situation could affect children’s citizenship-esteem as valued and recognised schoolcitizens and citizens of wider society. Yet, children’s self-conceptualisation of themselves as non-participating citizens belies that they are active citizen-peers of their peer groups which I conceptualise as a form of Citizenship Polis. My observations reveal that children ‘do’ citizenship which is defined, reproduced and created by their peer cultures. I found social bonding between children is a precursor to their citizenship solidarity and that children’s rights as citizen-peers of their peer group(s) are largely dictated by peer social hierarchy. I suggest that children’s citizenship practices represent forms of Collective Social Action(s) which are social strategies children use to negotiate the social protocols as citizen-peers and as school-citizens. Therefore, I propose, children’s Citizenship Polis is the most important form and locus of citizenship participation for children because it affords them more opportunities to ‘do’ citizenship on their terms. My findings provide new insights which could assist policymakers and educators to further develop children’s citizenship participation at primary school.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Re-imagining; primary school; children’s citizenship; participation;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 13827
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2021 15:27
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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