Recognizing that my reading list currently one unruly list, I have begun the task of organizing them into headings and sub-headings. As I do this, some themes and sub-themes are emerging, and some gaps are also revealing themselves. There are a couple articles I forgot to put into my list that look at the informal participation of children in the political life of the community. As much as community governance needs to be connected to formal governance structures in some way, I do not want to forget and discount the contributions of young people an informal structures. A vibrant democracy will surely involve engaged actors in a civil society that makes up the kind of communities that recognize not only the diversity of its citizens, but also various modes of engaging in community decision-making. How best to integrate this as a component, perhaps through my analytic factor on linkages to families, professionals working with children, and civil society? Perhaps through the articles that talk about the interplay between children’s participation and community development?
The other section that I had wanted to make sure was involved in my reading list was something on urban environments. I definitely noticed that I have a couple readings in there on urban governance! My focus on urban geographies as a setting for examining children’s participation in governance is driven in large part by urbanizing trend across the world. Recognizing the importance of being able to address what is now the habitat of half of the worlds populations is rather important. Moreover, it is in urban cities that we find more diversity, and hence the greater risk of marginalization, and therefore the need to be particularly attentive to good democratic governance that is inclusive and just.
There is definitely a lot in my list right now that deals more generally with youth participation. I will need to focus on how these help us analyze what youth participation means and looks like in practice. Other sections looks at democracy and political life in general including urban governance, representation, and deliberation in building a vibrant democratic society. Right now it is not obvious how it may weave together, but perhaps when I lay it out it will appear. Stay tuned for an updated and more clearly organized list!