The goal of this paper is to identify (unmask) and critique the movement to promote children’s agency as a cornerstone of research, care, education and intervention with children. The article makes a case that this movement is harmful to a scientific approach to the study of childhood, distorts or ignores key understandings of the evolution of childhood and culture. The article demonstrates that the agency movement is ethnocentric, classist and hegemonic representing the dominance of contemporary bourgeoisie child-rearing. It imposes a single, privileged ethnotheory of childhood upon the diverse societies of the world with alternative ethnotheories and practices. Lastly, the article argues that the movement is not efficacious either in advancing theory or practice.
Lancy, David F., "Unmasking Children's Agency" (2012). SSWA Faculty Publications. Paper 277.