25 SES 11, Civil Disobedience, Teachers' and Children’s Views
The weaker juridical nature of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in relation of national laws is often an obstacle when it comes to implement the articles in European national contexts. For instance, Sweden has a national legal structure that gives priority to Swedish acts in favour of international conventions. Only National acts and ordinances as well as certain EU acts are binding sources of law. Therefore, except for certain EU acts, national acts always prevails before international jurisdiction, such as the Convention of the Rights of the Child (Schiratzki 2013).
In addition, CRC stipulates several rights that are difficult to interpret on a national level (Schiratzki 2013). Several of the CRS rights, such as education, care and health, belong to the so-called second-generation human rights that require active action by the state to ensure their existence in practice.
Unlike first-generation rights (also called freedoms or civic and political rights) that aimed to protect individuals from state interference, second-generation human rights (social, economic and cultural rights) are heavily dependent on the state's allocation of public resources. Consequently, there are often less strict implantations of second-generation rights in national contexts (Willems & Vernimmen 2017).
Furthermore, previous research (Ahrnér 2006) shows that the CRC contains formulations that are ambiguous, diffuse and have different meanings in different contexts. Experience from Norway also (Schiratzki 2013) shows that incorporation of the CRC s in a national Act is not enough to defend childrens’ rights at national contexts. What is more, there is no international court that can punish a state that does not respect the convention. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Child Rights Committee), located in Geneva, has the task of overseeing that States members implementation of CRC. However, the only possible sanctions that this UN committee can implement against a state that does not respect CRC are criticisms and pressures.(The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden 2015).
The weaker juridical nature of the CRC makes it interesting to investigate the existence of other strategies to guarantee Children’s rights within various national contexts that are not taken into consideration by national Acts. One of this strategy is civil disobedience.
According to Brownlee (Fall 2017) “… on the most widely accepted account of civil disobedience, famously defended by John Rawls (1971), civil disobedience is a public, non-violent and conscientious breach of law undertaken with the aim of bringing about a change in laws or government policies. On this account, people who engage in civil disobedience are willing to accept the legal consequences of their actions, as this shows their fidelity to the rule of law. Civil disobedience, given its place at the boundary of fidelity to law, is said to fall between legal protest, on the one hand, and conscientious refusal, revolutionary action, militant protest and organised forcible resistance, on the other hand.” (Brownlee, Fall 2017)
Starting from this most widely accepted account of civil disobedience (see Brownlee, Fall 2017) this contribution aims to introduce and discuss a research review about international research on civil disobedience as strategy to guarantee Childrens’ rights in education in national contexts.
Quantitative and qualitative thematic text analysis of peer review articles published in scientific journals found in ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Web of Science Core Collection and Scopus, Legal Classic Library, Lexpress databases is used as methodology. The concepts “civil disobedience”, “children’s rights”, “Convention of the Rights of the Child” are used as keywords for the selection of the articles in these databases. Only articles in English, Swedish, Spanish, French and Hungarian published during the period 2010-2017 are selected. Starting from Hanna Arendts (1973, 2006) understanding of individual responsibility as theoretical stating point this research review focuses on the following research questions: • How is civil disobedience conceptualized in the selected articles? • Which theoretical starting points are used to study civil disobedience in relation to children’s rights in education in the selected articles? • In which extension is citizens’ individual responsability discussed in the analysis of civil obedience and children’s rights in education in the selected research articles? • Which research methodological starting points are used to study civil disobedience in relation to children’s rights in education in the selected articles? • Which ethical aspects are necesary to pay attention in the study of civil disobedience as strategy to guarantee childrens’ rights in education according to the selected articles? • What does international resesarch show about the reasons to use civil disobedience as strategy to guarantee children’s rights in education? • What does international research show about the impacts of civil disobendice on the implementation of children’s rights in education at national levels? This contribution will particularly pay attention in analysis of the research strategies used in the selected articles in order to deal with ethical aspects in the study on civil disobedience and children’s rights in education. Hanna Arendt (1973, 2006) understanding of individual responsibility is used as theoretical starting point to understand the reasons and the impacts of civil disobedience as a strategy to guarantee children’s right to education.
Focusing on Hanna Arendt’s (1973, 2006) understanding of individual responsibility, this research review contributes with new insights on the reasons and the impacts of Civil obedience as strategy to guarantee children’s rights in education. It contributes even to develop new knowledge about theoretical, methodological and ethical aspects in the field of children’ rights with focus on civil disobedience as strategy to implement CRC.
Ahrnér, E. (2006) Barns inflytande i förskolan – Problem eller möjlighet för de vuxna? En studie av ett utvecklingsarbete och dess betydelse för att förändra pedagogers förhållningssätt till barns initiativ. Licentiatavhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen. Örebro universitet 3. Orebro 2006.
Arendt, H. (1973). The origins of totalitarianism. (New ed. with added prefaces). New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Arendt, H. (2006). Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books.
Brownlee, K. (Fall 2017), "Civil Disobedience", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =
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