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Agency operating within structures: a qualitative exploration of agency amongst children living in Palestine

posted on 2020-06-19, 22:45 authored by Federica CavazzoniFederica Cavazzoni, Cindy Sousa, Alec Fiorini, Guido Veronese

Over the last two decades the concept of agency has played a pivotal role in childhood studies, bringing a radical shift into the old views of children and childhood development. Based on drawings and walk-along interviews with 70 children from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the present study provides an analysis of children’s agency across the multiple settings in which they live. Our findings highlight the dynamic interconnections between the children’s agentic practices and the multiple ecologies implied in promoting - or suppressing - their opportunity to act and cope with their surroundings. Our research challenges the dominant picture of children exposed to political violence as helpless victim, portraying them as active agents who mobilize resources both within themselves and throughout their social, physical, and political world. The study suggests implications for practices when designing intervention for children in contexts of chronic political violence.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors


Declaration of conflicts of interest

The authors have declared that they have no competing or potential conflicts of interest.

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Italy

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Researcher

Lead author institution

University of Milano-Bicocca

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

The research was conducted in conformity with APA ethical guidelines concerning child protection (APA, 2013) and approved by the Milano-Bicocca Institutional Review Board (N.368). All participants and all participants' family were asked to sign a written informed consent


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