» Archive for: April, 2013

What do monarchies, breakfasts and sports have to do with one another?

The answer is partly revealed by this little post-it above, which presents the timetable of the ‘King’s games’ which is part of the ‘rituals’ created for the upcoming abdication of the Dutch queen and the passing on of the crown to her oldest son. The day starts with  a ‘King’s breakfast’ at schools across the kingdom, followed by a live-broadcast of the ‘kick-off’ of the games by the royal couple, and then the ‘games’ start.

According to a Dutch press release more than 7,500 schools will participate, involving more than 1.5 million children across the kingdom (including Carribean parts of the kingdom). Free and healthy breakfasts, a day full of sports and festive activities for school-children. Who can disagree with this? And perhaps that’s not the point. What makes this event interesting is the scale at which the performance of Dutch nationalism is staged. It is indeed the weaving together of these healthy and fun activities involving children with the Dutch monarchy, which obfuscates the larger issue of Dutch nationalism that is performed here.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


Category: youth

19 Apr 2013

An interesting job opening at the University of Amsterdam for a candidate with a ‘substantive focus on youth issues in cross cultural settings’.

The position is advertised at the level of Assistant/Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The application deadline is 15 May, 2013.

Trick question?

Category: children's work| education

16 Apr 2013

PLAN confronts Ghanaian youth with questions about ‘work’ and ‘education’.

Unfortunately, PLAN only posted the above questions on Facebook and not the answers the Ghanaian youth came up with. The questions are worth reflecting on and the way they are framed says something about how PLAN looks at ‘work’ and ‘education’. The young people are stimulated to come up with the values of education, yet, reflection on ‘work’ is limited to the giving of examples. And are ‘work’ and ‘education’ clearly distinct concepts? Could ‘work’ be considered a form of education? And would ‘schooling’, as a manifestation of the broader concept of education, not be a (modern) form of children’s work? And there is the trick question: what do these Ghanaian youth got to make of the underscored term ‘homework’? Is it something that is linked to schooling and education, or is it an example of work?

posted by Roy Huijsmans

Children and Youth among the themes in the upcoming ISS Development Dialogue.

The PhD community at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, Netherlands, is organising its 11th Development Dialogue; a conference specifically organised for and by PhD candidates and young scholars working in the field of development. This year’s conference theme is ‘Bridging Voices‘, and is scheduled for 10 and 11 October, 2013.

The call for papers is now open (closes by 15th May 2013). Research on/with children and youth in the context of development is included in the list of topics put forth by the conference organisers. Limited funds are availabe to (partially) cover travel expenses and accommodation of researchers outside of the Hague and the Netherlands (for details see HERE).


Why does the dominant anti-trafficking paradigm persist, and takes the form it has?

It’s easier if we stop them moving‘: A critical analysis of anti-child trafficking discourse, policy and practice – the case of southern Benin‘ is well-worth a read for anyone interested in (anti)trafficking (for earlier posts on the topic see here, herehere and here).  Neil Howard has written this PhD dissertation at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford and it stands out in the way it integrates rich empirical material (much of it ethnographic) with an original combination of theoretical ideas. 

The dissertation builds on an emerging body of critical scholarship on anti-trafficking. However, it seeks to expand this by: 1) focussing specifically on ‘child trafficking’ as a sub-discourse within the larger field of ‘human trafficking’, 2) focussing on ‘male adolescent labour migration’ instead of the common focus on young women in the sex industry, 3) and by conducting research with people located at virtually all levels of the anti-trafficking chain (in addition to research with young male migrants, traffickers and other villagers).

The West-African nation of Benin makes a fertile case study. It has been very much in the global anti-trafficking spotlight following the infamous Etireno affair in 2001. In addition, the country has a long history of migration, including migration by young men. And not unimportantly, the author can draw on a significant amount of experience of working on (anti)trafficking in Benin.

Discourse analysis is the prime methodological approach through which the wealth of empirical material that is generated is analysed. The findings confirm much of what is also found in other research: the narrative of child trafficking diverges strongly from the lived realities of young migrants, and anti-trafficking policies mostly fail and are not desirable by those they target. However, Neil Howard’s thesis goes further than this as it also presents a laboured, and empirically substantiated analysis of why it is that the dominant child trafficking paradigm takes the particular form it takes, and why it continues to persists.

posted by Roy Huijsmans

International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.