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Building the ‘Big Society’: Exploring representations of young people and citizenship in the National Citizen Service

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The Big Society agenda of the UK Coalition government aims to develop a more participative and responsible society. In a children’s rights context this sounds progressive, inviting it might be hoped, some appreciation of the contributions that children and young people make to society. Yet, in the light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK government still remains cautious in the extent to which it seems prepared to recognise children and young people as citizens. This paper explores one Coalition government initiative which is intended to promote citizenship and the building of the ‘Big Society’ – the National Citizen Service. By examining some official NCS documentation and website content we start to unpick the images of childhood and citizenship which underpin it. Central to our analysis is the question of how far young people are considered to be citizens.

Affiliations: 1: a)University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, KVBacon@uclan.ac.uk; 2: b)Writer and Consultant, Director of Act 4 and The Centre of Excellence for Social Learning sam@samfrankel.co.uk; 3: c)University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, SFaulks@uclan.ac.uk

10.1163/15718182-02103001
/content/journals/10.1163/15718182-02103001
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2013-01-01
2016-12-11

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