Kevin Ryan
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Empowering the young citizen
in Refiguring childhood
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Chapter 5 moves beyond the genealogical questioning of how we have come to be what we are. The question that follows is: ‘what are we in the process of becoming?’ In opening out this question, the chapter examines how biosocial power operates in the guise of empowerment, specifically in the form of children’s citizenship. Approaching citizenship (from Nikolas Rose) as a moral technology of discipline, the chapter focuses on how children’s citizenship has been configured in Ireland, where children have recently been incorporated into the policy process, initially as ‘active participants’, and subsequently as ‘active citizens in their own right’. The chapter uses the case study as a critical vantage point on the idea of the ‘Whole Child’ and the figure of the ‘resilient’ child, and concludes by presenting children’s citizenship as a form of biosocial empowerment that, on closer inspection, proves to be a mode of subjectivation.

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Refiguring childhood

Encounters with biosocial power


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