Children’s rights research in education in an era of uncertainty
Relating to the overall conference theme ‘Education in an Era of Risk – the Role of Educational Research for the Future’, EERA Network 25: Research on Children’s Rights in Education welcomes contributions exploring important questions to consider in future educational children’s rights research,in the support of a sustainable, peaceful and equitable global coexistence. For example: What are the general and specific challenges for the research field? What has been neglected in earlier research? How can a critical and theory driven research approach and children’s rights advocacy be combined?
In 1989, the international community agreed on a legal instrument, the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), acknowledging children as rights-holders with the full range of human rights. Almost thirty years later, all but one United Nations member states have ratified this treaty. Due to this high level of commitment and its comprehensive character, the UNCRC is widely regarded as the most important advocacy tool for children’s rights globally (Coppock & Gillett-Swan, 2016). Moreover, issues related to children’s rights have gained increased attention in various areas of society, inducing a parallel rapid and exponential growth of research in almost every social science discipline since the adoption of the UNCRC (Quennerstedt, 2013). This expansion has contributed to establish and legitimate children’s rights as a field of study in its own right (Reynaert, et al., 2015).
Tensions have however arisen in the field of children’s rights studies. Beyond identifying shortcomings in the UNCRC itself (Freeman, 2000; Veerman, 2010), scholars have highlighted the ways in which the UNCRC has become imbricated with research internationally. Reynaert et al. (2009) have shown how three recurrent topics (participation, children’s vs. parental/adult rights, and the technicisation of standard-setting, implementation and monitoring of the UNCRC) have dominated the research agenda. Various studies have also underlined the issues related to a decontextualised approach for children’s rights when advocacy and research are closely entangled: the relevance of the treaty and the western standards it conveys are never discussed, in particular in respect to local realities (Ennew, 2000; Hanson & Nieuwenhyus, 2012; Pupavac, 2001). Various calls have therefore been made to adopt a more critical stance in respect to the concept of children’s rights as such, to reinforce theorisation and make explicit different research ontologies and finally to explore new research questions and orientations (Alanen, 2011; I’Anson, 2016; Quennerstedt, 2013).
Considering these tensions as well as the current global world situation, this special call invites submissions that explore the important questions for future research in children’s rights. Examples of matters for consideration in our time of great uncertainty and in a globalised and rapidly changing world, where rights issues are regularly under threat, are:
- What is the role of children’s rights research in education?
- What challenges can be identified for future research?
- What rights-related issues have not yet been addressed in educational research?
- What balance can be found between critical/theoretical research approaches and children’s rights advocacy?
- How can research involving children’s education-related rights contribute to rights informed and evidenced-based practices, thereby supporting a sustainable, peaceful and equitable global coexistence?
Relating to the overall conference theme ‘Education in an Era of Risk – the Role of Educational Research for the Future’’, EERA Network 25 Research on Children’s Rights in Education welcomes theoretical, methodological and empirical research submissions as well as practice and project reports that address the aforementioned questions, from various disciplinary perspectives.
For this special call we invite papers and symposia. Presenters may later be invited to contribute to a shared network publication.
Coppock. V. & Gillett-Swan, J. (2016). Introduction. In J. Gillett-Swan, & V. Coppock. (Eds). Children’s Rights, Educational Research and the UNCRC: past, present and future (pp. 7-16). Oxford: Symposium Books.
Ennew J. (2000). The history of children’s rights: whose story ? Cultural Survival.
Freeman, M. (2000). The Future of Children’s Rights. Children & Society, 14, 277–293.
Hanson, K. & Nieuwenhuys, O. (2012). Living rights, social justice, translations. In K. Hanson & O. Nieuwenhuys (eds.) Reconceptualizing children’s rights in international development: living rights, social justice, translations (pp. 3-13). Cambridge: University Press.
I’Anson, J. (2016). UNCRC at 25: a critical assessment of achievements and trajectories with reference to educational research. In J. Gillett-Swan, & V. Coppock. (Eds). Children’s Rights, Educational Research and the UNCRC: past, present and future (pp. 17-37). Oxford: Symposium Books.
Quennerstedt, A. (2013). Children’s rights research moving into the future, challenges on the way forward. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 21, 233–247.
Reynaert, D., Bouverne-De Bie, M. & Vandevelde, S. (2009). A review of children's rights literature since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Childhood, 16, 518–534.
Reynaert, D., Desmet, E., Lembrechts, S. & Vandenhole, W. (2015). A critical approach to children’s rights. In W. Vandenhole, E. Desmet & D. Reynaert (eds), Routledge International Handbook of Children’s Rights Studies (pp. 1–23). London: Routledge.
Pupavac, V. (2001). Misanthropy without borders: the international children’s rights regime, Disasters, 25, 95–112.
Veerman, P.E. (2010). The Ageing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The International Journal of Children's Rights, 18(4), 585–618.