Is She a Pawn, Prodigy or Person with a Message? Public Responses to a Child's Political Speech

Rebecca Raby, Mary-Beth Raddon
2015 Canadian journal of sociology  
The 2012 appearance on YouTube of a speech about banking reform prompted mainstream news coverage and hundreds of online comments, dwelling less on the content of the speech than on the speaker, Victoria Grant, a twelve year-old girl. A qualitative content analysis of over 600 comments revealed disagreement about children's capacities as participants in political and economic discussions. Commenters' mixed beliefs were linked to dominant, frequently contradictory, discourses of childhood.
more » ... of childhood. Victoria Grant was positioned as embedded in educational processes, as competent but often exceptional, as incompetent, and as innocent and therefore vulnerable. These conflicting yet emotionally charged narratives of childhood illustrate the concept's rhetorical elasticity and flexibility. Despite advances in the cause of children's social participation in recent years, most of these adult-centered narratives undermine the idea of children as legitimate contributors to economic analysis and political debate.
doi:10.2307/canajsocicahican.40.2.163 fatcat:4oen5bh5bnfz7h73kdzpgyjbdu