“Down the Toilet”: Spatial Politics and Young Children’s Participation

  • Zsuzsa Millei
  • Robert Imre
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 7)


Educational settings for children have a role in (re)producing their societies’ political cultures and to dynamically shape children’s subjectivities, including their political understandings, feelings, and orientations. In this chapter, a particular preschool in rural Australia is understood as a political space that (re)produces those relations that are part of the democratic society in which it is situated. Through the multiple “stories” told on the renovation of the preschool bathroom, the authors trace the political culture of the preschool by paying special attention to the politics of space. “Stories” were generated through interviews with various stakeholders after the refurbished bathroom was opened. The analysis illustrates the interview participants’ struggle over authority and the agendas and power relations they invest through the discursive constitution of the bathroom space. These struggles are indicative of the preschool’s and the broader political culture in which it is located. The preschool’s political culture ultimately led to the exclusion of many ideas young children put forward and considered important in regard to their bathroom. To conclude considerations are made about the ways in which these power relations condition the possibility of including children’s views and their participation and the importance of spatial politics for young children’s political learning.


Children’s service Children’s space Hygienic discourses Intergenerationality Minor politics Participant discourses Political culture Political learning Spatial politics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SPARGUniversity of Tampere, FinlandTampereFinland
  2. 2.Newcastle Business SchoolUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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