Playfully Negotiating Publics: Children, Space, and Activism in the City

Abstract

The multiple dimensions of urbanity can be examined and understood through the creative agency of children who redefine and mold cities. Despite the many barriers that children face in negotiating city spaces, particularly those in vulnerable and marginal situations, we argue that children express an active citizenship through their playful everyday lives. Framing children’s geographies within a governmentality framework, we demonstrate through two case studies that children are able to renegotiate power relationships within city spaces in exciting new ways. The multiple, layered, and textured dynamics of a city are brought into full view that often escapes rational planning exercises. By means of the case studies of New York newspaper sellers at the turn of the twentieth century and child panhandlers in Fatehpur Sikri, we argue and theorize for a new city–child-scape that is less formidable and democratically engaging. This new landscape bridges the difference through the sameness of humanity, emotion, and possibilities.

Keywords

Children’s geographies Governmentality Urban spaces 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment and GeographyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeographyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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