2nd Edition

A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation Conversations for Transformational Change

    356 Pages 60 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    356 Pages 60 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This new edition of A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation brings together work from research and practice to reflect on some of the key developments in the field since the first edition published in 2010.

    Subtitled ‘Conversations for Transformational Change’, the collection focuses on both ongoing and new discourses that enable us to advance thinking and practice to better understand what it means for participation to be transformational. Featuring all new content, it explores the developments that have been achieved in theory and practice in the last decade as well as the challenges and, indeed, the limitations of dominant participation approaches with children and young people in achieving genuine societal transformation. A key feature of the Handbook is the inclusion of young people as co-authors in many of the chapters.

    Foregrounding aspects of participation as experienced by diverse groups of children and young people, the book especially illuminates the experiences and perspectives of participation relating to groups of children who face particular challenges, such as displaced children and children living with disabilities and young people from indigenous groups in a range of contexts.

    The broad spectrum of debates that the text covers will be invaluable in challenging and transforming thinking and practice for a wide range of scholars, practitioners, activists and young people themselves. It will additionally be suitable for use on a wide range of courses including childhood and youth studies, sociology, law, political studies, community development, development studies, children’s rights, citizenship studies, education and social work.

    Introduction – The shifting landscape of children and young people’s participation: looking forward, looking back
    Barry Percy-Smith and Nigel Patrick Thomas

    Part one: Reflection

    Section one: Continuing challenges

    Chapter one – Children’s participation in transformational development: reflections emerging from praxis
    Bill Forbes, Julia Smith-Brake, Teresa Wallace and Paul Stephenson

    Chapter two – Youth participation in Aotearoa New Zealand: rationales, rights and responsiveness
    Jennifer Braithwaite and Kelsey Deane

    Chapter three – Discursive barriers to children's political influence
    Jessica K. Taft

    Section two: Intergenerational dynamics and the role of adults

    Chapter four – ‘There was no fence’: reconceptualising children’s participation for transformative change within a school context
    Jane Maeve O’Sullivan, Deirdre Horgan and Jacqui O’ Riordan

    Chapter five – Overcoming the adult gaze in participatory research with young people
    Kristen Cheney

    Chapter six – Transformative constraints in practices of co-production with social workers and young people in Hong Kong
    Samantha Burns

    Chapter seven – What about my voice? Facilitating the participation of disabled children and young people with complex communication needs through independent Aavocacy
    Jo Greenaway-Clarke and Anita Franklin

    Chapter eight – Transformative spaces: intergenerational partnership and personal transformation at the heart (and art) of child participation
    Luís Manuel Pinto, Marie Wernham, Maria Belén Paz, Arshad Mozumder and Darren Bird

    Part two: Learning

    Section one: Participation as a learning process

    Chapter nine – Youth participation with a purpose? Promoting the transformative power of remote action-reflection research with Brazilian youth in conditions of resource insecurity
    Susanne Börner, Peter Kraftl and Leandro Luiz Giatti

    Chapter ten – Politics, participation and the pandemic: reflections on new democratic engagement and participatory inquiry growing up under Covid-19
    Laurie Day, Barry Percy-Smith, Sara Rizzo and Leanne Monchuk

    Chapter eleven – ‘Hope in the present’: foregrounding uncertainty in transformative education for sustainability in the Global South
    Rebecca Webb, Citlalli Morelos-Juarez, Anindita Saha, Perpetua Kirby, Paola Ponciano, Kata Karath, Emilia Palomeque, Miguel Macias and Paola Meza

    Chapter twelve – Realisation of children’s right to participate using Action Research principles: a Kenyan case study
    Johanna Mahr-Slotawa

    Section two: Children and young people as researchers

    Chapter thirteen – Children’s Circle of Learning: doing critical sexuality education in India
    Parul Malik

    Chapter fourteen – From principles to practice: application of child participation principles in collaborative participatory research between children and adults in Mali, Somalia and Sudan
    Kato Nkimba

    Chapter fifteen – Peer research, power and ethics: navigating participatory research in an Africa-focused mobilities study before and during Covid-19
    Gina Porter, Claire Dungey, with Maryam Abdullahi Akoshi, Patience Hannatu Bullus, Rania Houiji, Sandiswa Matomane , Aisha Umar Mohammed, Hauwa Mohammed, Aisha Ishaku Musa Wiem Nasser and Umar Nasirat Usman

    Chapter sixteen – Adventures in youth-led research with disabled young people in the UK and Japan
    Will Finch, Katie Martin, Deborah Crook and Hiroko Koizumi

    Chapter seventeen – Learning from experience: Sistematización of ten years of action research by children and adolescents with CESESMA in Nicaragua
    Harry Shier, Marisol Hernández Méndez, Marta Lidia Padilla, Roxana Lizbeth Soza Villagra, Pablo Antonio Hernández González, Osiris Sugey Valdivia and Nohemí Molina Torres

    Section three: Participation seen from ‘above’ and ‘below’

    Chapter eighteen – Representation and conflict: tensions of youth participation
    Jessica Lütgens, Yağmur Mengilli and Andreas Walther

    Chapter nineteen – Children’s participation in Aotearoa New Zealand: changes, challenges, and indigenous critiques
    Luke Fitzmaurice and Kelsey Brown

    Chapter twenty – Affecting change in different contexts: children’s participation in social and public policy dialogues in Brazil, Canada and South Africa
    Lucas Almeida, Tara Collins, Danielle-Jamax Heynes, Lucy Jamieson, Irene Rizzini and Samantha (Sam) Walsh

    Chapter twenty-one – I-participate: culture and identity in enabling meaningful opportunities
    Sam Frankel and Katie Westwood

    Part three: Action

    Section one: Children and young people as activists

    Chapter twenty-two - How perception of agency influences young people’s activism in the UK
    Silvia Behrens

    Chapter twenty-three – Children and young people’s activism in Brazil: from the fringes of society to the centre of decision-making
    Patricio Cuevas-Parra

    Chapter twenty-four – "Asamblea de Niñas": exploring the bonds between children's participation and the feminist movement in Buenos Aires
    Paula Nurit Shabel and Hebe Montenegro

    Chapter twenty-five – Being a young political actor: reflections with young domestic abuse survivors from the frontline of transformative participation
    Claire Houghton, Julia Mazur, Layla Kansour-Sinclair and E. Kay M. Tisdall

    Chapter twenty-six – Understanding children's participation using the capability approach
    Cath Larkins, Lucía del Moral-Espín and Daniel Stoecklin

    Section two: Children and young people contesting inequalities and striving for inclusion

    Chapter twenty-seven – Political mobilization through everyday struggles: children’s participation in Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST)
    Fábio Accardo de Freitas, Luciana Maciel Bizzotto, Levindo Diniz Carvalho, Maria Cristina Soares de Gouveia and Isabel de Oliveira e Silva

    Chapter twenty-eight – Courageous Conversations: youth participatory action research as resistance
    Meagan Call-Cummings, Ashleigh Clyde, Rediate Lemma, LeAnne Beardsley and Melissa Hauber-Özer

    Chapter twenty-nine – The future is ours: young people and the inclusive city
    Millie Blossom-Ward, Sophia Hart, Rod Kippen, Deborah Ralls and Noor Rubani

    Chapter thirty – Belonging and agency: the transformatory power of participatory design with children affected by displacement
    Andrea Rigon, Joana Dabaj and Riccardo Conti

    Section three: Children and young people responding to the climate crisis

    Chapter thirty-one – 'It’s up to you, me – all of us!' Children’s participation in Scotland’s Climate Assembly
    Katie Reid

    Chapter thirty-two – Transformative learning and societal change in climate policy: a participatory workshop with children and youth
    Marit Ursin, Linn C. Lorgen, Isaac Arturo Ortega Alvarado, Ani-Lea Smalsundmo and Runar Chang Nordgår

    Chapter thirty-three – Greta Thunberg’s climate activism: challenging generational and economic power
    Jan Mason, Tobia Fattore, Lise Mogensen, Jan Falloon and Gabrielle Drake

    Conclusion: moving forwards for meaningful and transformative participation
    Claire O’Kane and Afua Twum-Danso Imoh


    Barry Percy-Smith is Professor of Childhood, Youth and Participatory Practice and Director of the Just Futures Research Centre at University of Huddersfield, UK. He has extensive experience as a participatory action researcher and an international reputation for his work in child and youth participation. His main interests are in children and young people as active agents of change, participatory social learning and action inquiry approaches to learning and change in organisations and communities. He has published widely on these issues, including as co-editor of the first edition of A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation with Nigel Patrick Thomas.

    Nigel Patrick Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Childhood and Youth at the University of Central Lancashire and founder of The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation. He was previously a social work practitioner, manager and advisor and later a social work educator. His research interests are principally in child welfare, children’s rights, children and young people’s participation, and theories of childhood and intergenerational relations. His many publications include Children, Family and the State: Decision-Making and Child Participation (2000, 2002) and Children, Politics and Communication: Participation at the Margins (2009).

    Claire O’Kane is a child rights practitioner and researcher with over 28 years of international experience working with nongovernment organisations, UN agencies and child-led organisations on children’s rights, participation, care, protection and peacebuilding in development and humanitarian contexts. She is a qualified social worker with a masters in applied social studies and a postgraduate diploma in social research and evaluation from UK universities. Claire works as an international child rights consultant and is a senior associate with Proteknôn. She is the author of more than 60 publications, including toolkits on child rights, protection and participation.

    Afua Twum-Danso Imoh is Senior Lecturer in Global Childhoods and Welfare at the University of Bristol. Her research interests are centred around conceptualisations of childhood, parent-child relationships and the intersections between dominant global children’s rights discourses and social and cultural norms in West Africa. Afua is the lead co-editor of three other edited collections: Childhoods at the Intersection of the Global and the Local (2012), Children’s Lives in an Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa (Routledge 2013) and Global Childhoods Beyond the North-South Divide (2018).