Deliberators, not Future Citizens: Children in Democracy

Abstract

This paper is a “manifesto” for incorporating children into deliberative democracy. Although the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) emphasizes children’s right to participation in the process of democracy, their activities and voices still do not receive the attention they merit. There exists a widespread skepticism reinforced by notions of socialization and remediation about children’s capacities, knowledge, experiences, and interests in democracy, and this leads to a conceptualization of children as “future citizens.” Drawing on the recent scholarship on deliberative democracy, particularly the deliberative system framework, this article reconsiders the capacities and actual contributions of children in democracy, and suggests reconceptualizing children as “deliberators.” The perspective of deliberative system in particular helps us to notice the agency and deliberative capacity of children not only in “empowered” decision-making spaces but also in the context of previously unnoticed various democratic activities.

Keywords

Deliberative System, Deliberators, Children as Citizens, Future Citizens, Children

How to Cite

Nishiyama K., (2017) “Deliberators, not Future Citizens: Children in Democracy”, Journal of Public Deliberation 13(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.267

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Authors

Kei Nishiyama (Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance, Institute for Governance & Policy Analysis, University of Canberra)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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