25 SES 04, Ethical Issues and New Orientations in Children’s Rights Research
Earlier studies showed the pre-occupation of children’s rights research with at least 3 issues: i) the new childhood image of the autonomous child, in accordance with the recognition of participation rights for children; ii) the discussion on how children’s rights relate to parental rights and ii) methodologies and strategies to implement and monitor children’s rights, referred to as the ‘global children’s rights industry’.
Recently, some scholars in the field of children’s rights have brought children’s rights research into new directions. Liebel (2012) uses the framework of ‘children’s rights from below’; Hanson & Nieuwenhuys (2012) talk about ‘living rights’; Vandenhole (2012) starts from the idea of ‘localizing children’s rights’. What unites these perspectives is their ‘contextual orientation’ in investigating children’s rights. In this way they critique, at least implicitly, dominant paradigms in children ‘s rights research that often take a ‘top-down stance: the starting point than is the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child and the guiding question how the recognized rights can be implemented.
In this presentation, the main characteristics of the dominant top-down approach of children’s rights research will be examined. Next, critical counter movements in children’s rights research such as those mentioned earlier will be evaluated. In line with these proposals, the author will elaborate the idea of “a lifeworld orientation” in children’s rights research. The position that children’s rights research needs much more empirical and contextual knowledge in order to become a full field of research instead of remaining an ideology will be argued.
Liebel, M. (2012) (Ed.), Children's Rights from Below. Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan. Vandenhole, W. (2012). Localizing the human rights of children, in: M. Liebel, Children's Rights from Below. Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan. Hanson, K. and Nieuwenhuys, O. (2012). Reconceptualizing Children's Rights in International Development. Living Rights, Social Justice, Translations, Cambridge University Press. Reynaert, D.; Bouverne-De Bie, M. and Vandevelde, S. (2010). (2010). Children, Rights and Social Work: Rethinking Children's Rights Education, Social Work and Society, 8(1): 60-69.
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