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Reaching critical mass? Theory, politics, and the culture of debate in children's geographies

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A small but growing number of voices have begun to raise questions about the current direction of children's geographies as a subfield and its status within the wider discipline. This article intervenes in these emerging discussions to examine the status of debate itself within children's geographies. I argue that children's geographies over the past decade has operated primarily in a consensus-based mode, with a number of potential tensions and differences between practitioners masked as a result. I develop the example of notions of children's competent social agency, a core theoretical assumption that is rarely interrogated in much depth. In closing, I pose questions regarding several contemporary political issues concerning children's agency about which geographers have had surprisingly little to say. I suggest that explicitly addressing some of these vexing issues would contribute to a richer state of debate within children's geographies.
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Keywords: agency; childhood; children's geographies; youth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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