Dates for your Diary: Welcome, Seminars, and Writing Days!

This semester is shaping up to be a great one for childhood and youth studies across the Edinburgh network. Below are some important upcoming dates for your dairy — we hope to see you at some or all of them!

1. Our welcome meeting: 4pm, Thursday, September 29th in the Chrystal Macmillan Building Practice Suite (1.12).
*See previous post for more details!

2. Seminar by Professor Nigel Thomas: ‘Children as political actors and the strange permeability of disciplinary boundaries’. 3pm, Friday, October 14th in the Chrystal Macmillan Building, Seminar Room 2 (abstract below)

3. Seminar by Polly Atatoa Carr: ‘The impact of housing policy in New Zealand on child health and equity’. 3pm, Friday, November 4th in the Chrystal Macmillan Building, 6th floor staff room (abstract below)

4. Writing Retreat Days

We are so pleased to announce two informal (free) writing retreats for the Childhood and Youth Studies Network this year! We will have two days of supported writing, where we can work together, exchange writing, and get critical feedback on any and all writing you’re doing in the course of your work. The day can be shaped by you and what you need. More info to follow!

Semester One: Friday, November 11th, Chrystal Macmillan Building, Practice Suite 1.12
Semester Two: Friday, March 17th 2017, Chrystal Macmillan Building, Practice Suite 1.12


Nigel Thomas:
Children as political actors and the strange permeability of disciplinary boundaries

In this presentation I ask why children as social and political actors are largely absent from mainstream political theory, in particular from theories of democracy. A review of standard texts indicates that in general children, when they are noticed at all, are regarded as the object of adult obligations and perhaps as future citizens. It is rare for them to be considered as subjects in the present, or as political actors. Although classic examples of participatory democracy often exclude children, there are others that successfully include them and show that children can be very effective political actors; yet these instances also tend to be ignored in the literature. I suggest that this blindness is due to a number of factors, including a residue of liberal paternalism, ideological assumptions traceable back to ‘socialization’ theory, economic instrumentalism and a crude developmentalism based on an outdated reading of psychology. I conclude by reflecting on the space for children as political actors in both representative and participatory democracy, including the issue of voting ages.

Nigel Thomas is Professor of Childhood and Youth Research at the University of Central Lancashire and Co-Director of The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation. He was previously a social work practitioner, manager and advisor, and then a social work educator. Nigel’s research interests are principally in child welfare, children’s rights, children’s participation and theories of childhood. His publications include Children, Family and the State: Decision-Making and Child Participation (Macmillan 2000, Policy Press 2002); Social Work with Young People in Care (Palgrave 2005); Children, Politics and Communication: Participation at the Margins (Policy Press 2009); and A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation: perspectives from theory and practice (with Barry Percy-Smith, Routledge 2010). He is Chair of the Editorial Board of Children & Society, a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University, and an Honorary Professor in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at Aberystwyth University. Nigel Thomas is featured in the book Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies by Carmel Smith and Sheila Greene (Policy Press 2014)

Polly Atatoa Carr:
The impact of housing policy in New Zealand on child health and equity

Housing has long been recognised as a key social determinant of health, and a critical target for achieving health equity. Current housing issues are also in part responsible for New Zealand’s poor child health and safety ranking. Over the last few decades, housing policy in New Zealand has been constantly reshaped, reformed and restructured as part of wider shifts in political ideology and priorities. Despite (and also as a result of) such policy focus, the state of New Zealand’s housing quality, safety, affordability and availability is dire. This seminar will provide a brief description of the recent history of New Zealand’s housing policy and the current state of housing in the New Zealand context. Examples will be provided of the impact that housing has on New Zealand’s children, and on how housing policy contributes to inequities that are unfair, unnecessary, avoidable, and unjust.

Polly Atatoa Carr is a specialist in Public Health Medicine at the Waikato District Health Board and an Associate Professor in Population Health and Equity at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Dr Atatoa Carr is also a named investigator on Growing Up in New Zealand, a longitudinal study following approximately 7000 New Zealand children in the context of their family and broader environment since before they were born. Polly has broad clinical and research interests in population health, policy translation and child development that include working on housing quality improvements and homelessness. In her professional, community and personal life Polly is passionate about achieving health and social equity in Aotearoa/New Zealand.


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