Hart, R. (2014). Children, self-governance and citizenship. In C. Burke & K. Jones (Eds.), Education, Childhood and Anarchism: Talking Colin Ward. Routledge.

Roger Hart argues that although “weak forms of representative political participation, like school councils and municipal councils” are valuable as one form of political participation, what is needed is to engage them in the everyday forms of socio-political activities.  This includes involving children in the development of their communities, including having a greater role in governance, as well as to create and enliven cooperative public play spaces as a means of developing children’s citizenship skills in a more collaborative, democratic society. It is alongside the building of more participatory forms of citizenship activities in pubic spaces through community development and governance that more formal systems and structures for children’s political participation becomes networked into a more complex and multifaceted approach to incorporating children within community democracy. When we only have “weak” or more structured, formal forms of political participation without the more informal forms of participation, we draw on a narrow definition of citizenship and reproduces a narrow form of democracy that privileges formal mechanisms of political participation.