Advocacy and activism in early childhood

Mevawalla, Zinnia and Archer, Nathan; (2022) Advocacy and activism in early childhood. In: Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford. ISBN 9780199756810 (

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The literature on 'advocacy and activism in early childhood' spans across multiple disciplines including those related to the care, development and education of children from birth to eight years of age. Advocacy can be defined as the proactive promotion or awareness-raising of a cause or barriers (e.g., barriers to participation, inclusion and equity). Advocacy aims to influence change in ways of thinking, being and doing, across micro- to macro- level contexts (for example, within family-educator relationships and at the policy level). This literature overlaps with scholarship on 'activism'. However, there are also many tensions and conceptual differences in understandings of 'advocacy' and 'activism', with writers suggesting that advocacy involves working 'within' systems and structures, whilst activism involves an element of resistance (e.g., protest, civil disobedience, etc). Given the synergistic nature of overlaps, for the purposes of this review, key works that focus on the intersection of activism and advocacy have been included. However, we acknowledge that the broader literature on concepts related to activism such as resistance (unpacked by seminal scholars - most notably, Peter Moss, Glenda Mac Naughton, Hillevi Lenz Taguchi, and others), are not the focus of this piece as they constitute a closely related, but separate body of literature. The review therefore remains focused only on activism and advocacy in early childhood