25 SES 04, Discourse and Policy Perspectives on Children's Rights
The desire to protect children from violence is clearly formulated in the Children’s Right Convention (CRV). For example, the right of children to be protected from:” /…/all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child is clearly stated in Article 19 of the CRC, which was ratified by Sweden in 1989 (United Nations, 1989). The right of children not to be subjected to various forms of violence is also emphasized in other international treaties signed and/or ratified by the Swedish state (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2010, the Treaty of Lisbon). In order to assure this right, the Swedish legal framework (Prop., 2009/10:232) stipulates that the subjection of children to violence should be avoided at all cost. Italy assures the right of a childhood free from violence thanks to its legal framework as well. Italy’s legal framework is made up of the international documents previously cited, the CRC (ratified in 1991 with the LEGGE 27 maggio 1991, n. 176. Italy’s legal framework is also made up of national laws, in particular by the founding one: the Constitution. Art. 3. This article is used as a base for the creation of national policy to prevent the subjection of children to violence.
In this study, the word violence is used in a broad sense to cover the numerous situations in which people are at risk of being physically and psychologically damaged (Hamby and Grych, 2013), such as in cases of discrimination, bullying, violation, or harassment (cf. Greeff and Grobler, 2008; Parkes, 2007). The ambition to oppose and counteract violence through juridification in schools has increased in Sweden through the introduction of the Discrimination Act (SFS, 2008:567) and the paragraph regarding the treatment of others in the Education Act (SFS, 2010:800, paragraph 6). For what concerns the treatment of others and discrimination, Italy refers to the National Plan for educating to the respect of others (Rispetta le differenze. Piano nazionale per l’educazione al rispetto). This plan aims at promoting the values stated in the 3rd article of the Constitution by educating and training students, teachers and families.
There are several studies conducted in Italy and Sweden about how this particular right is approached in policy (Francia and Edling, 2016, Edling and Francia, 2017, Biffi, 2017). Although, children’s right not to be subjected to violence is given attention in many countries today it is still a question of negotiation as concerns how these rights are materialized in each country’s educational policy as well as why they are described as important to consider. Whereas Sweden is described as a highly secular (previously protestant) and individualistic country, Italy is pictured as a non-secular, catholic country premiering the collective (see Meyer, 2014; Integrationsverket, 2005).
Against this background, it becomes of interest to compare how two different countries like Sweden and Italy approach children’s right not to be subjected to various forms of violence by analysing educational policy that presents motifs and directives for teachers in different stages. In Italy, the plan for the 2016-2019 teacher training in chapter 4.6 (Piano per la formazione dei docenti 2016-2019) declares that teachers have to be trained in order to teach them how to promote respect for others in their classrooms in order to prevent violence.
The following questions are asked: 1. How do the different policy documents in Sweden and Italy describe and explain teachers’ responsibilities to oppose violence in school? 2. Are there any similarities and/or differences between the countries as regards the question above? If so what kind of similarities and/or differences? To conduct a comparative study, both linkages and differences need to be taken into account. Linkages are created by posing similar questions to the material analysed and differences imply awareness that all comparisons always contain cultural and contextual differences and contestations that need to be addressed (e.g. No´voa & Yariv-Mashal, 2003). As regards linkages, Kazamias (2001) points to the need to use theoretical concepts as lenses to make more 200 coherent comparisons (p. 446) – in this case theoretical understandings of violence. This paper is based on a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of educational policy highlighting teachers’ responsibilities to promote children’s right not to be subjected to violence. Based on Fairclough (1992, 2000, 2001), we argue that CDA facilitates an understanding of the dialectical relation between discourse and social practice. Following Fairclough (2000), the interpretation of the data encompasses three dimensions: (a) text analysis (description), (b) processing analysis (interpretation), and (c) social analysis (explanation). In our study, these dimensions correspond to our research questions.
The study aims to distinguish how teachers’ responsibilities to oppose violence towards children is expressed and motivated by the various policy documents. The comparison makes it possible to discuss plausible similarities and differences between the countries as well as discuss cultural and political explanations for the findings that can help combat child violence.
Biffi, Elisabetta. (2017). Protecting minors against violence: from strategy to practice. Education Sciences & Society. 1, 47-64. Fairclough, Norman. (1989). Language and power. London: Longman. London: Longman. Fairclough, Norman. (1992). Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity Press. Francia, Guadalupe, & Edling, Silvia. (2016). Children's rights and violence: A case analysis at a Swedish boarding school. Childhood, in process. Greeff, P., & Grobler, A. (2008). Bullying during the intermediate school phase. Childhood 15(1), 127-144. Hamby, Sherry , & Grych, John (2013). The Web of Violence Exploring Connections Among Different Forms of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse. New York, London: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg. Kazamias, Andreas M. . (2001). ‘Re-inventing the Historical in Comparative Education: Reflection on a Protean Episteme by a Contemporary Player’. Comparative Education, 37(4), 439-450. LEGGE 27 maggio 1991, n. 176 Ratifica ed esecuzione della convenzione sui diritti del fanciullo, fatta a New York il 20 novembre 1989. (GU n.135 del 11-6-1991 - Suppl. Ordinario n. 35-), The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; The European Convention of Human Rights; The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2010, and the Treaty of Lisbon. Linee Guida Nazionali -art. 1 comma 16 L. 107/2015- Educare al rispetto: per la parità tra i sessi, la prevenzione della violenza di genere e di tutte le forme di discriminazione Linee di orientamento per la prevenzione e il contrasto del cyberbullismo nelle scuole -art. 4 L. 71/2017- Meyer, Erin. (2014). The cultrure map. Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business. NY: PublicAffairs US. Nóvoa, Antonio , & Yariv-Mashal, Tali (2003). Comparative Research in Education: A Mode of Governance or a Historical Journey? Comparative Education, 39(4), 423-438. Parkes, Jenny. (2007). The multiple meanings of violence. Children's talk about life in a South African neighbourhood. Childhood 14(4), 401-414. Prop. (2009/10:232). Strategi för att stärka barnets rättigheter i Sverige. Stockholm. SFS. (2008:567). Diskrimineringslag. SFS. (2010:800). Skollag.
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