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Children's agency, children's welfareA dialogical approach to child development, policy and practice$
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Carolus van Nijnatten

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424891

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424891.001.0001

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Social agency and social context

Social agency and social context

(p.50) (p.51) four Social agency and social context
Children's agency, children's welfare

Carolus van Nijnatten

Policy Press

This chapter explores the social structures that affect the development of human agency. Its main issue is the rise of the ideal of autonomy, as a developmental norm, that is a major consequence of the transformation of public policies. In addition, the fall of traditional society and the growth of local and temporary morals are explored. Some recent changes in the legal rules of family life are then considered: the changed position of the judge in vice cases, the liberalisation of the Dutch Bill on choosing a family name and the growing significance of children's rights. The concept of relational autonomy fits with the new personalisation paradigm, emphasising both the need to gain control over one's individual life and the dependency on social structures. Social institutions have withdrawn and in many cases only intervene at the request of individual citizens.

Keywords:   social agency, social structures, autonomy, traditional society, morals, family, Dutch Bill, children's rights, social institutions

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