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Encouraging and Supporting Children’s Voices

Conrad, Sarah-Jane; Cassidy, Claire; Mathis, Christian (2015). Encouraging and Supporting Children’s Voices. In: Tremmel, Jörg; Mason, Anton; Godli, Petter; Dimitrijoski, Igor (eds.) Youth Quotas and other efficient forms of Youth Participation in Ageing Societies (pp. 109-124). Cham: Springer International Publishing

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Children are considered not to be full members of society and that their participation should be limited. Further, this limitation is imposed by adults. In order to counter these attitudes, it is key to afford space for children’s voices and that this is facilitated in some way. Philosophy with Children, in all its variety of approaches and practices, lays claim to being a tool that allows children to develop the skills necessary for citizenship, such as participation and airing their views. This section focuses on the role of Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CoPI), a specific method of practical Philosophy with Children, to empower children and give them a voice. CoPI has a series of distinctive features that makes it especially apt in meeting this goal. Children are able to articulate their views on a particular topic and this is supported by the structure of the dialogue itself. In addition, their statements must build on previous statements by demonstrating dis/agreement and the participants must provide reasons to justify that dis/agreement. The method thereby emphasizes the primacy of the children’s thinking and the facilitator works to juxtapose speakers in order to drive the dialogue further philosophically. In this article, these features of CoPI are illustrated by examples from dialogues on the Good Life, stimulated by the question ‘What kind of society would you like to live in?’ CoPI is shown to give children voice with a view to promoting their participation in society while also eschewing the imbalance in the adult/child power relationship as questions regarding the good life ultimately invite us to reconsider our views of children.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

PHBern Contributor:

Conrad, Sarah-Jane




Springer International Publishing


Jessica Brunner

Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2022 15:53

Last Modified:

03 Nov 2022 15:53

Publisher DOI:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Good Life, Youth Participation, Participatory Research,


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