Poliittinen toimijuus julkishallinnon lapsi- ja nuorisopoliittisessa osallistumisretoriikassa
The UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (1989) brought the issue of children’s participation to the
global agenda. This most widely ratified human rights agreement defines the right for children to be heard
and their opinions respected in matters affecting them. Hence follows the responsibility and duty for the
Finnish local authorities to promote children’s participation. In developing participatory practices, public
authorities also come to define the desirable political agency for children and young people. Leaning on
hermeneutical methodology and political philosophical thought, we reflect on these definitions and make
visible some of the underlying presuppositions concerning children and young people’s political agency.
The analysis shows that the participation rhetoric is framed by multi-faceted ambiguities – even within
single localities. The assumptions of appropriate participation rely arbitrarily on differing interpretations
of political agency, thereby producing practices that oscillate between supporting and hindering children
and young people’s political agency.