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