International Journal of Children’s Rights 16 (2008) 395–406 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/157181808X311222 www.brill.nl/chil Foucault, Power and Participation Michael Gallagher Research Associate, School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Edinburgh Abstract In this paper, I argue that Foucault’s work on power oﬀ ers a distinctive and original perspective with the potential to aﬀ ord insights into the nature of participation. I begin by providing a brief exegesis of Foucault’s conceptualisation of power in his middle to late work. Th e notion of governmentality is drawn out as a potentially useful tool in understanding participation as a profoundly ambiguous phenomenon. I conclude by outlining some of the possible implications of Foucault’s thinking about power for studying children’s participation. Keywords power; participation; Foucault; governmentality Introduction Th is paper argues that Foucault’s work on power oﬀ ers a distinctive perspective with the potential to aﬀ ord insights into the nature of children’s participation. I start from the premise that all of the activities currently grouped together under the rubric of participation in decision-making involve power of some sort. As such, thinking about what power is and how it can be analysed is crucial for understanding children’s
The International Journal of Children's Rights – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: GOVERNMENTALITY; POWER; PARTICIPATION; FOUCAULT
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