» Archive for: April, 2015


Research about children and youth in the context of the Second World War and its aftermath remains limited. This is especially true for children and young people whose parents collaborated with the occupation.

An important exception includes the work by Dr Tames at the (Dutch) Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD). Amongst other things, she conducted research about the children of Dutch Nazi-collaborators in the post war years – a particularly silenced piece of Dutch history.

The research was published in Dutch under the title ‘Besmette Jeugd‘ (‘Contaminated Youth’). I have written an English language review of the title, which is available HERE and HERE.

The book is important for a number of reasons. First, it draws attention to the war-time childhoods that typically receive least attention during the annual wave of attention for the Second World War as part of the comemorations of the Netherlands’ liberation (4-5 May in the Netherlands) – yet, these childhoods were often deeply tainted by the (post)war experience. Second, the book sheds important light on the working of the post-war child protection and social work system in the Netherlands. This sector was hardly developed then, yet had to respond to the acute problem of what to do with children of Dutch parents who had collaborated with the German occupation. Many of these parents were imprisoned as part of the liberation creating an immediate demand for an alternative care solution. In addition, there was a strong concern that these children might have been contaminated by the ideas of their parents. The interplay between such ‘care’ concerns and ‘control’ issues constitute the third reason why this book matters, particularly since this is still characteristic of many child protection and social work initiatives today (and social policy at large). Yet, the advantage of the historical analysis presented in ‘Contaminated youth’ is that it illustrates child protection as a highly normative field and shows has this normativity evolves in relation to shifting ideas about ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘guilt’ and ‘innocence’, changing ideas about the role of institutions such as the family, youth organisations, social work, and in relation to transforming geo-politics.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


Have attempts to ‘save’ migrant working children in the name of anti-trafficking actually amounted to making young migrants more vulnerable?

Last month, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Migration Out of Poverty development research centre at the University of Sussex hosted a roundtable entitled ‘Labour Trafficking? Understanding the use of brokers in women’s and girl’s labour migration in the Global South’.

The event built on the Development Research Centre’s work on ‘child migration‘, and their current focus on ‘migration, women and girls‘.

Speakers at the event included Dr Priya Deshingkar, Mike Dottridge, Dr Ligia Kiss, and Jonathan Blagbrough. Collectively, these speakers brought lots of different experiences and knowledges to the floor about the field of trafficking and anti-trafficking, including important observations on the making of human trafficking as one of the worst crimes requiring immediate intervention, as well as reflections on common approaches that seek to address the issue of human trafficking.

Important questions that were discussed include:

-What would it mean to take a children’s rights approach to human trafficking?

-What interests is the anti-trafficking discourse serving if not those of the young migrants?

-What does a safe migration approach mean, especially in relation to young people?

-Does the regularisation of migration offer any benefits to poor and young migrants, or does it merely render them vulnerable to rent-seeking and corrupt officials?

-Are blanket approaches based on the measure of chronological age that render all those below 18 years of age children, and subject them to projects that seek to restore lost childhoods sensible?

A video recording of the event can be viewed HERE.

posted by Roy Huijsmans




The current issue (no. 120) of the online journal Inside Indonesia is themed ‘Youth employment prospects and aspirations’, guest-edited by Yatun Sastradmidjaja and Suzanne Naafs.

The editions brings together a number of international and Indonesian scholars. The contributions are short and highly accessible articles presenting cutting-edge research on a number of issues relating to youth, schooling, work and aspirations, which relevance goes well beyond the Indonesian context on which the articles are based. It includes contributions by two ISS alumni: Wenty Marina Minza (‘Aspiring to become a civil servant‘) and Suzanne Naafs (‘Negotiating access‘), and a co-authored article by ISS emeritus professor Ben White and Akatiga (‘Would I like to be a farmer?‘).

The guest editors decribe the issue as follows:

This edition of Inside Indonesia illustrates the various challenges that young people face in trying to match their dreams and skills with the work opportunities available to them in rural, metropolitan and industrial areas. This fills an important gap in our understanding of young people’s life worlds in Indonesia. While recent studies have documented the lifestyles of middle-class youth, questions about work and how young people pay for their lifestyle needs have been largely neglected. For many young people the meaning of work goes beyond consumption and lifestyle needs. They need an income to finance their education and plan for the future, attract a girl or boyfriend, fulfil their responsibilities to their families, contribute to their communities – and achieve personal goals for self-fulfilment and a meaningful life.



The University of Roehampton (London) advertises a number of fully funded PhD scholarships.

This includes a scholarship contributing to a project entitled ‘HyperConnecting Youth / HyperConnecting Schools: Virtual Pedagogy & Global Issues’.

The project is described as follows:

‘At a time of severe global crisis – and for the first time in human history – youth all over the world can access the required technology as to communicate personally with other young people and address common issues across diverse geographical areas. This studentship would contribute to a project developing innovative online/offline and participatory mixed-methods to document and analyse the modalities of young men and women’s hyper-communication about shared problems over longer periods of time across countries and contexts. The project aims to generate rich data resources (online/ offline observation/ interviews/ web-metrics), explore various cases and scenarios of hyper-communication with regard to various platforms, apps and social media and create a new pedagogical paradigm for understanding and supporting contemporary youth in dealing with urgent issues such as poverty, economic crisis, unemployment or climate change on global level.’

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.