14 SES 13, Children as Members of a Community: Citizenship, Participation and Educational Development - Part II: The Community of Children: Oppositional and Harmonical Narratives
In this Symposium, we would like to debate the subject of children/young people as citizens and, particularly, as members of a community. Our focus is on how children/young people perceive themselves as members of one (or several) community(ies), and on how communitarian interactions (at an interpersonal and/or an organizational level) are viewed, by them, as fundamental for their own development, and for that of the community(ies) they belong to.
One of this Symposium's emphasis is on creativity and innovation, particularly in the debating of what kinds of communitarian interactions are viewed by children/young people as fundamental to foster creative competences and innovative skills among them and within the community(ies).
For the purpose of this Symposium, we invoke a broad understanding of what a "community" is, and also of what "participating" and "being a citizen/member of a community" translates as, in terms of children's everyday experiences, awarded by their roles as members of one (or several) family(ies), as students, as inhabitants of a certain geographical/administrative space, etc.
These different (sometimes complementary, sometimes antithetical) roles emerge both as products and as constructs of the different "stages" in which the child/young person acts: these stages are contexts of individual action and appropriation, but also of colective - and eventually communitarian action and appropriation.
The idea of the community (or communities) as dialectics is especially relevant here, being that what is at stake here - or, better said, what is sought - is not consensus, but rather participation. It is participation, in its plurality of forms, that warrants the emergence of initiatives that really correspond to the individuals' demands, and the concept of "common", more than smothering diversity, emerges with the purpose of configuring fuller and more complex ways of experiecing citizenship and the citizens' rights.
In this Symposium, seven papers will be presented, representing 6 national perspectives. It is divided in two parts: the first part, titled "The Community inside the School and the Participation of Children", will include three papers; the second part, titled "The Community of Children: Oppositional and Harmonic Narratives", will include four papers.
The second part of this Symposium will include papers by Jenna Swan (representing Australia), Vicki Coppock (with a multinational perspective that includes data from three different countries), Joana Lúcio (representing Portugal) and Jonathon Sargeant (representing Australia). These papers offer insight about children as a group, and consequently as a community. This communitarian aspect may be present, and therefore identifiable, a priori, i.e. a set of children who have in common belonging to a more or less formal group, but it may also emerge in response an “artificial” commonality, i.e. a set of children who define themselves as a group in opposition to a more or less expected and/or identifiable Other. These four papers present four different perspectives about the issues of power (power assertion, power exchange), wellbeing, agency and the relational aspect of the educational process.
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