ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies


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Volume 3 Issue 2 - December 10, 2009

Between social and political: children as political selves

Kirsi Pauliina Kallio

In her recent article Sana M. Nakata (2008) engages with Hannah Arendt’s (1959) separation between social and political realms, pondering on children’s potential for political agency. By critically examining the interpretations that Arendt makes in her essay concerning the events of the ‘Little Rock’ case, Nakata argues that children should be understood as political actors in their own right. Taking up this argument, this article discusses children’s role in social and political realms by suggesting that, besides being political agents in public conflicts, children can also be found as political selves in more general terms in all of their everyday environments. This claim blurs the line between ‘the social’ and ‘the political’, and at the same time disputes the separation of public and private as discussed in Nakata’s article. However, it also suggests the need to redefine these boundaries, to avoid inflating the concept of politics as a whole.