Compassionate projects: new forms of children’s civic engagement

Project Details

Description (abstract)

This proposed research project focuses on children’s compassionate projects. These child initiated and child lead activities, which focus on dealing issues like homelessness, children in long term hospital care and environmental questions, represent new forms of children’s civic engagement. While this engagement is not novel, there is currently less educational research on such civic activities, especially research that focuses on understanding the development of these activities and what children learn through them.

Building on cultural-historical activity theory, the proposed research project conceptualizes children’s compassionate projects as manifestations of leading activities, activities that direct and spreadhead children’s learning and development. The specific objectives of the project are to 1) study the development of children’s compassionate projects, 2) analyze children’s learning as part of the development of these projects, and 3) design spaces with different stakeholders to foster and support children’s engagement in their projects. Through these objectives, the project aims to answers questions regarding the emergence, stabilization and develop of children’s projects as part of their everyday life, what the children learn by engaging with them and how adults support the children’s engagement.

These question will be explored through two independent, but connected ethnographic datasets. Dataset 1 will be comprised of three pre-identified and internationally known cases of children’s compassionate projects from the public domain. Dataset 2 will in turn comprise of cases of who’s activities and developments are followed locally step-by-step. Both datasets will include interviews of the participants as well documents and artifacts produced by the participants or third parties (like newspaper articles and videos). In addition, Dataset 2 will entail also observations from situations in which the children work on their project and reflective video diaries that the participants are invited to make.

The topic of the proposed research project is timely. Recent studies have indicated that youth are turning away from conventional civic and political engagement toward more personal and short term endeavours. Understanding these activities in more detail can offer us substantial insights into children’s own role in their civic socialisation as well as unlocking insights into children’s learning pathways into later civic engagement.

Layman's description

Tämä tutkimushanke keskittyy lasten yhteiskunnallisen osallistumismuotojen, niiden sisällä tapahtuvan oppimisen sekä niitä tukevien kasvatusprosessien tutkimiseen. Tutkimalla niin ulkomaalaisia kuin kotimaisia lasten myötätuntoprojekteja tutkimus pyrkii vastaamaan kysymyksiin siitä miten tälläiset uudet yhteiskunnallisen osallistumismuodot syntyvät, kehittyvät ja miten niitä ylläpidetään osana lasten arkea. Aiheen ajankohtaisuutta korostavat viimeaikaiset tutkimustulokset, joiden mukaan nuorten yhteiskunnallinen osallistuminen on muuttamassa muotoaa, pois olemassa olevien rakenteiden sisällä tapahtuvasta toiminnasta kohti yksilöllisempiä ja lyhytkestoisempia projekteja. Vaikka ilmiö tunnetaan, ei siitä ole kuitenkaan vielä juurikaan kasvatustieteellistä tutkimusta. Hankkeen teoreettisena viitekehyksenä toimii kulttuurihistoriallinen toiminnan teoria.
Short titleCompassionate projects
AcronymComPro
StatusActive
Effective start/end date01/09/201931/08/2022

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • agency
  • development
  • learning
  • culture