Children, young people and their social and spatial citizenship rights

Dee, Michael J. (2003) Children, young people and their social and spatial citizenship rights. In Joined Up Services : Linking Together for Children and Families. Children's Issues Centre, Dunedin, New Zealand.


The use of public space by children and young people is a contentious issue in a number of developed and developing countries and a range of measures are frequently deployed to control the public space which usually deny the rights of children and young people to claim the space for their use.

Child and youth curfews, oppressive camera surveillance and the unwarranted attentions of police and private security personnel as control measures in public space undermine attempts to secure greater participation by children and young people in constructing positive strategies to address concerns that impact on them and others in a local area. Evidence from research in Scotland undertaken by Article 12 (2000) suggests that young people felt strongly that they did not count in local community matters and decision making and the imposition on them of a curfew by the adult world of the local area created resentment both at the harshness of the measure and disappointment at an opportunity lost to be consulted and involved in dealing with perceived problems of the locality.

This is an important cluster of linked issues as Brown (1998:116) argues that young people are ‘selectively constructed as “problem” and “other” with their concerns marginalised, their lifestyles problematised and their voices subdued’, and this flows into their use of public space as their claims to its use as an aspect of social citizenship are usually cast as inferior or rejected as they ‘stand outside the formal polity’ as ‘non persons’. This has major implications for the ways in which young people view their position in a community as many report a feeling of not being wanted, valued or tolerated.

The ‘youth question’ according to Davis (1990) acts as a form of ‘screen’ on which observers and analysts project hopes and fears about the state of society, while in the view of Loader (1996:89) the ‘question of young people’ sits within a discourse comprising two elements, the one being youth, particularly young males, as the ‘harbinger of often unwelcome social change and threat’ and the other element ‘constructs young people as vulnerable’. This discourse of threat is further exemplified in the separation of children from teenagers as Valentine (1996) suggests, the treatment of younger children using public space is often dramatically different to that of older children and the most feared stage of all, 'youth'

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ID Code: 57366
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: CCTV, Citizenship, Surveillance, Public Space, Urban
ISBN: 0958245908
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Private Policing and Security Services (160206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400) > Social and Cultural Geography (160403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Children's Issues Centre
Deposited On: 19 Feb 2013 04:15
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2015 06:27

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