Summary and Info
Why have children been excluded from discussions of the changing nature of power, and why are they invisible in national and international statistics? Taking a global perspective, Mary John considers how children learn about power, being powerful and the transformation of power relationships. Arguing that children are rarely included in debates on social accountability, freedom and autonomy and are excluded from statistics, she compares the situation of children to that of other powerless minority groups, 'silenced' because of their lack of economic force. While many books on children's rights focus on aspects of the 'three Ps' - provision, protection and participation - around which the convention is organized, Children's Rights and Power is innovative in the way it addresses the fourth P - power - which underlies all the themes and which characterizes adults' relationships with children. Mary John examines children in relation to current thinking about the nature of power, the role of competence within this, and how perception of power is determined by culture. As part of her field research she has studied and visited the night schools of Rajastan (where the members of the Indian Children's Parliament are elected); the rise in violence among Japanese schoolchildren; child labor in Mexico; and democratic schooling in Albany, USA. She argues that democracies are not only sought in the public sphere, they are created within the emotional intimacies of private social worlds. These worlds present the child with new challenges for the recognition and realization of their rightful autonomy and agency.