Children As Public Subjects: Can Educational Transmission be More Than Leading Children into the Future We Want?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Lucia RABELLO DE CASTRO, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The ideals purported in the International Convention of the Rights of the Child concerning children’s participation have launched a tremendous investigative effort on the conditions of possibility to ensure the fulfilling of such rights.  This move has generally taken for granted the given statute of deeply rooted institutions of society, such as the educational system, as if its long sustained cornerstones could be left untouched once children became active participants and duly involved in matters concerning them.  This paper presents a case in point by considering children’s participation in schools.  It aims at interrogating the process of educational transmission in the school context in our days insofar as it can provide conditions for children’s construction of their public subjectivities and the production of a common space for discussion on issues relevant to their everyday life, struggles and difficulties.  Firstly, the notion of public space is discussed in relation to childhood, once children’s contribution to society has remained non-public, invisible and mostly irrelevant.  It is discussed how the notion of publicity, in its descriptive and normative aspects, can address the specificity of the school context and the relationships therein produced characterized by their hierarchical and asymmetrical aspect to children’s disadvantage.  In such a place of restricted possibilities for action, the question is how children manage to bring forth their own interests and validate their viewpoints on school experience.  Secondly, empirical data from a research project in Brazilian state schools are discussed in order to verify how the conformed roles and rules of the school context are re-signified and re-constructed by children as they attempt to re-frame the process of educational transmission in accordance with their own interests.  The far-reaching effects of children’s participation on the cherished perspectives about the future, as adults conceive them, are discussed.