A New Paradigm
Prout’s (2000) ‘new paradigm’ of childhood began a quiet revolution in how young people were understood sociologically. They began to move from being constructed as unable to enact agency (Smith, 2007) and dependent on adults to facilitate their participation in society, towards being viewed as competent social agents, capable of fully engaging in society (Prout and James, 2002). These two conceptualisations of children and young people met in Uprichard’s (2008) model of children as both ‘beings’ and ‘becomings’. ‘Beings’ are active social actors, able to enact their own agency and ‘becomings’ are individuals who are acted upon by social structures, lacking the capacity to enact their own agency.