University of Oulu

Netta Iivari, Marianne Kinnula, Leena Kuure, (2015) "With best intentions: A Foucauldian examination on children’s genuine participation in ICT design", Information Technology & People, Vol. 28 Issue: 2, pp.246-280,

With best intentions : a Foucauldian examination on children’s genuine participation in ICT design

Saved in:
Author: Iivari, Netta1; Kinnula, Marianne1; Kuure, Leena2
Organizations: 1Department of Information Processing Science, University of Oulu
2Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2015
Publish Date: 2017-11-06


Purpose: Children have been recognized as an important user group for information and communication technology (ICT) and methods for involving them in ICT design have already been devised. However, there is a lack of research on children’s genuine or authentic participation in ICT design as well as a lack of critical research scrutinizing how “children” and “their participation” actually end up constructed in ICT design. The paper aims to discuss these issues

Design/methodology/approach: An intervention involving children in ICT design following the research strategy of nexus analysis was implemented. A qualitative data archive of this intervention is examined through a Foucauldian lens.

Findings: The study reveals that numerous discourses were relied on when talking about “children” and “their participation” in the case project: the discourses of participation, equality, domination, segregation, rebellion, and patronization were identified. Moreover, “children” were constructed as equal partners and influential, but also as ignorant, ignored, silent, and silencing each other. Some of the findings are in line with the existing ICT literature on the matter, others even with the literature on genuine participation of children. However, children and their participation were also constructed as “problematic” in many senses.

Research limitations/implications: The study contributes to and opens up avenues for critical research on genuine participation of users, especially children.

Practical implications: Practical suggestions for researchers interested in participation of children in ICT design are provided.

Originality/value: While research literature offers an abundance of best practices and an idealized view on children and their participation, this study shows the multitude of challenges involved and discourses circulating around.

see all

Series: Information technology & people
ISSN: 0959-3845
ISSN-E: 1758-5813
ISSN-L: 0959-3845
Volume: 28
Issue: 2
Pages: 246 - 280
DOI: 10.1108/ITP-12-2013-0223
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
612 Languages and literature
Copyright information: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2015. Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.