Children's participation rights, enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), have been a popular area of research, policy and practice for decades. Despite a great deal of interest and activity, participation rights have posed a particular challenge to implement. In response, researchers have consistently called for more in-depth and nuanced analyses of the way participatory rights are actually lived and experienced by children and young people, within the complexity of interdependent relationships. However, there has been surprisingly little focus on the emotional relations of children's participation rights. The analytical links between emotions and participation rights are rarely the focus and, where emotions are discussed, they are rarely discussed as a central concern in their own right. This article provides a review of the field and identifies three ways in which making emotions a central concern can help to advance debates on children's participation rights: by helping to unsettle ‘traditional’ constructions of the child-adult binary, by increasing sensitivity to ethical and safeguarding issues, and by making visible and challenging intersectional power relations.
- children's participation rights
- child-adult binary
- intergenerational relations
- ethics and safeguarding