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Concepts of children´s and young people´s participation, competence and competence development - An interdisciplinary meta study of scientific, professional and political theories and discourses

Project: Research


  • Research Centre for Child and Youth Competence Development at Lillehammer University Collage (LUC)
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Concepts of children’s and young people’s competences related to their participation in and across different social practices has for years been a focal point in research and professional and political practices. Interest in schools and day-care centers as settings for children’s participation and competence development has intensified over the last two decades; a number of organizations and institutions have sought to foster the development of generic social competencies. The dimension social inclusion/exclusion has been stressed in relation to the children´s possibilities to participate in different institutional and non-institutional social practices. Lately, children´s participation and competence development in relation different digital practices provided by the new information technology has also been in focus.
However, difficulties in operationalizing these concepts, and the varieties in the use of the concepts raise a number of questions, such as: what is the content, or the main core, of the concept of children’s participation, competences and competence development? Do different conceptualizations represent different understandings of children’s participation, competences and the development of competences? How is the relation between participation and competence development conceived? E.g.: How is the effect of children’s and young people´s participation in different social practices aimed at competence development conceptualized? How is the relation between competences and the social context in which the competences are executed conceived? Are children´s and young people´s competences conceptualized as a purely cognitive state of mind, or are they defined in relation to social and cultural contexts and practices? How are the concepts operationalized in empirical research? What kind of research methods are used when investigating children´s and young people´s competences, participation and the development of competences? The present vague use of the concepts of children’s and young people´s participations and competences makes them less useful in research, policymaking and professional practices.
This is where we see the rationale for this study and its relevance. The results will inform policy and decision makers, researchers and professionals. The overarching aim is to contribute to a more stringent use of the concepts of children’s and young people´s participation, competences and their development of these competences within both research and practice, hereunder in policymaking, planning, implementing and evaluating practices, which target the development of children’s and young people´s competences and competence development related to their participation in and across social practices.
Effective start/end date01/03/201203/06/2013

    Research areas

  • Competence, Participation, Children and adolescents, review, discourse analysis, schools, pre-school, Specialpædagogik, Sociale kompetencer, Læring og læringsmiljøer, Kompetenceudvikling, Grundskole

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ID: 128951137