The disablement and enablement of childhood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I first examine how the dominant view of children as incompetent is constructed in the field of sociology, highlighting the constructions of them as playful, vulnerable and passive. Then, I deconstruct these dominant constructions and argue that they do not do children justice. To restore justice to children through reconstructing the concept of childhood, I suggest that children should neither be constructed as workfree and carefree, nor as innately innocent and vulnerable. Moreover, I suggest that the common practice of legally fixing a chronological identity for adults within the life course should be challenged, and that the relationship between social structures and agency should be understood in terms of relational rather than co-deterministic theories. Finally, to promote agency in children at the policy level, I suggest that they should be empowered to participate actively in various settings, particularly schools. Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-167
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


Lam, C.-M. (2012). The disablement and enablement of childhood. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 22(2), 147-167.


  • Construction
  • Deconstruction
  • Childhood
  • Children
  • Sociology
  • Justice


Dive into the research topics of 'The disablement and enablement of childhood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.