Sneaking Out After Dark: Resistance, Agency, and the Postmodern Child in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

Document Type


Publication Date



JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels situate their child protagonists in a fantastical world side by side with present day British society. Through the characters’ choices and realizations, young readers are introduced to the complexities and ambiguities of the contemporary world. Harry and his friends embrace these qualities of postmodern childhood and question injustices established by and through the adult wizarding world. The characters’ resistance occurs in relation to control of their minds and bodies, the hegemony of wizarding bloodlines, and efforts to frame children as in need of protection. Rowling’s novels imagine a culture in which such child agency is possible, where young people become builders of context, awakening to the network of relationships and institutions that frame their lives.


This article was originally published in Children’s Literature in Education, volume 39, issue 4, in 2008. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-007-9060-6

The Link to Full Text button above directs users to a free read-only version of the article.

Peer Reviewed



Springer Science+Business Media, LLC