Engaging adolescents’ negative emotional experiences as a resource for decision-making


  • Simon Magnusson Södertörn University




decision-making, participatory democracy, adolescents, emotions, youth participation, deontics


In this study, youth participation in a participatory democracy project is examined at the intersection of the deontic and emotional order. The data are drawn from a yearlong participatory democracy project where 14–15-year-olds meet with politicians and public servants to decide on a vision for how the community should be in 2050. By analysing their interactions, the present study shows how adult community representatives elicit adolescents’ negative emotional experiences and transform these into deontic building blocks in the impending decision-making. The analysis shows how the transformation of adolescents’ negative emotional experiences casts the adolescents as emotional perceivers and deontic objects, a role they are shown to comply with. Furthermore, this sets up a proximal deontic order that, in turn, re-establishes a distal deontic order, both in which the adolescents’ positions are subordinated and regulated. Ultimately, by inviting youths to participate in the democracy project itself as well as eliciting their negative emotional experiences the politicians and public servants are shown to use the youths as emotional gearwheels in an already set larger deontic machinery.

Author Biography

  • Simon Magnusson, Södertörn University

    Simon Magnusson is a senior lecturer at Södertörn University in Sweden. He primarily engages in conversation and interaction research, with a particular interest in how influence and participation are achieved in everyday and institutional contexts. Recent research has focused on how sexual consent is portrayed in contemporary films and TV series.


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How to Cite

Magnusson, S. (2023). Engaging adolescents’ negative emotional experiences as a resource for decision-making. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 7(2), 190–213. https://doi.org/10.1558/rcsi.21921