Castle Grayskull

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So, she argues, ‘where women once ceded a public identity to their husbands and retreated (often reluctantly) to the private realm, children remain privatized by analogous forces’ (2005: 229). Wyness et al. argue that children are ‘located within the hidden private sphere and at best viewed as political animals in potentia’ (2004: 86). Whereas women are now generally part of the public as well as the private sphere, commentators have pointed to how children are increasingly excluded from public space (or are concentrated in adult-controlled spaces) (Prout, 2000).

Rather than my extension of the ‘political’ constituting an alien imposition on a hermetically sealed private sphere, it acknowledges the interconnectedness of the personal and the public. It should be said that my argument is not that we merely redraw the boundaries of political citizenship, ascribing value to previously neglected forms of activity, and then redefine our existing institutions, including schools, as conducive to political participation. There is much that needs to change within the existing regimes of schools, domestic life and the other institutions of civil society for political literacy to flourish, not least the need to challenge unjustifiable autocracy.

The republican model of citizenship that is embedded in the Crick Report is potentially transformative. It allows children to be politically active citizens (in the sense prescribed) without insisting either on their being prematurely autonomous, or requiring the institutions they inhabit to be prematurely democratic. I suggest that the compulsory education in political literacy that derives from the Crick Report, consistent with Article 12, has the potential to impact upon and transform relationships beyond the public sphere.

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