Children, Youth and Development
ISS CYS staff member Kristen Cheney has become embroiled in Dutch public debates about the future of foreign adoptions.
On 1 November 2016, the Netherlands’ Raad voor Strafrechtstoepassing en Jeugdbescherming (RSJ – in English, The Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Protection of Juveniles) issued a report (in Dutch) advising the Dutch minister of security and justice to ban all foreign adoptions. Among their reasons for coming to this conclusion were documented illegalities and unethical practices in the intercountry adoption system. The report cited scholarly literature — including Cheney’s work — that argues that intercountry adoption can lead to greater institutionalisation of children and/or disrupt the development of robust child protection systems in the children’s countries of origin (see more of Cheney’s research on the topic here).
The Netherlands’ pro-adoption lobby immediately kicked into gear: Several faculty members of the Leiden University Knowledge Centre for Adoption and Foster Care (ADOC) immediately criticised the RSJ report. Marinus (Rien) van IJzendoorn in particular questioned the quality of the research on which the RSJ report based their decision. This included one of Cheney’s articles, Addicted to Orphans: How the Global Orphan Industrial Complex Jeopardizes Local Child Protection Systems, which was co-authored with Karen Smith Rotabi, Associate Professor of Social Work at United Arab Emirates University.
Cheney claims that the way that van IJzendoorn’s blog distorted the articles’ arguments warranted a personal response — but it also raised crucial concerns about what constitutes ‘quality research’ and the ab/uses of ‘scientific objectivity’, particularly when it comes to social justice and child protection.
See Cheney’s full rebuttal and discussion of these issues at OpenDemocracy.net. She hopes to be called to the Minister’s roundtable on the topic in early 2017.
Please note that the vacancy is still open despite the April deadline stated in the ad.
12 June marked the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour.
Organisations like ILO-IPEC use this to reinforce their message of banning child labour through minimum age of employment regulations. Such interventions are often presented as acting in the best interest of children. Yet, working children are seldom consulted about these measures and interventions and if they speak out their voices are rarely heard.
The organisation the Concerned for Working Children used the occasion of the ‘World Day’ to draw attention to these forgotten or muted voices. It does so through the short film Forgotten on the Pyjama Trail which is well worth watching. The film presents a children’s perspective and shows the effects of international minimum age of employment regulations on working children’s lives using a case study from the Egyptian garment sector. The Latin American Working Children Movement (MOLACNATS) expresses similar concerns in this short Spanish language clip.
posted by Roy Huijsmans
The International Institute of Social Studies is looking for a researcher (MA or PhD level) to work on a ESRC/DfID funded research project on ‘Education systems, aspiration and learning in remote rural settings‘.
The position is open for Lao nationals only and is 18 months full-time. The successful applicant will spend about 9 months in Laos conducting ethnographic research in two remote rural settings and the remainder of the time at the ISS in The Hague, the Netherlands. Details about the position can be found HERE.
The Bangalore, India, based organisation ‘The Concerned for Working Children‘ will soon release ‘Fogotten on the Pyjama Trail‘ (and HERE) – it highlights some of the problems of ‘banning’ children’s paid employment.
The nearly 20 minutes film is inspired by actual events that took place in Morocco. The story is based on Fathima, who works in a Moroccan garment factory and who experiences the ‘banning’ of her work. Such interventions are common but as the film indicates typically based on a poor understanding of children’s work.
Contemporary debates on children’s involvement in migration mostly pay little attention to historical instances of child movement (see also HERE). An upcoming event hosted by the University of Leeds goes some way in addressing this concern.
The event is entitled ‘Moving Children: The history of child removal in comparative perspective’ and will take place on 8 and 9 April 2016. The Call for Papers states as a central objective: ‘By illuminating continuity and change in the practice and ideology of child removal across the twentieth century, our goal is to shed comparative light on the historical experience of child removal in order to better understand the relationship between interventions into family life in the present and the past.’
One of key note speakers, Christina Firpo, presented an early version of her work in the ISS research in progress series. The full programme is pasted below.
Friday 8 April
9.30 Coffee and welcome
9.45 Opening remarks
10.00 Key note lecture: Shurlee Swain: Race and Removal
11.30 Panel One: The Nineteenth Century
Claudia Soares (University of Manchester)
Agency, resistance and co-operation: families’ attitudes towards and experiences of child removal policies and practices in the nineteenth-century
Steven J. Taylor (University of Huddersfield)
British Children, Canadian Adults: Childhood Emigration to Canada in the Late-Nineteenth Century
2.00 Panel Two: The Interwar Years
Mariena Hirschberg (European University Institute, Florence, Italy)
Philanthropy and problem families: The Child Emigration Society in the interwar years.
Will Jackson (University of Leeds)
Moving children: race, emotion and the politics of child removal in Cape Town, 1919-1939
Emily Baughan (University of Bristol)
“A Child to Keep For A Dollar A Week: International Adoption and Interwar Diplomacy, c. 1918-1925”
4.00 Roundtable: Understanding children – now and then
Saturday 9 April
10.00 Panel Three: The Second World War and after
Lucy Bland (Anglia Ruskin)
‘Race and Nationhood post World War II: disputing the sending of mixed race GI offspring to the US
Verena Buser (University of Applied Sciences, Berlin)
UNRRA as identity maker: Child Search after the Second World War
12.00 Roundtable: The role of the state and the role of society
2.00 Panel Four: Authoritarian regimes
Mirjam Galley (University of Sheffield)
Builders of Communism, ‘Defective’ Children, and Social Orphans: Soviet Children in Care
Peter Anderson (University of Leeds)
Good Parents and Bad Parents: child removal in Spain in the early twentieth century
Diana Marre (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Moving and removing children in contemporary Spain
4.00 Keynote lecture: Christina Firpo: A Failure of Altruism: Métis Child Welfare Programs in Vietnam 1890-1975
The OpenDemocracy platform, on its Beyond Trafficking and Slavery pages, features an Open Letter endorsed by ‘over 50 leading academics, human rights practitioners, and advocates in the area of children and youth labour’. The letter urges the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child ‘to avoid binding the proposed ‘General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents’ to the ILO Minimum Age Convention (No. 138) or the minimum age standards set out in that convention.’
The Open Letter also usefully rehearses the various arguments in the children’s work debate. This includes the main arguments commonly used by advocates of the minimum age of employment set out in ILO Convention No. 138, and the counterarguments. It also helpfully discusses some areas of conceptual confusion common to many a children’s work discussion, such as the problematic distinction between ‘children’s work’ and ‘child labour’. Lastly, whilst the signatories of the Open Letter are critical of the ILO Minimum Age Convention, they are in supportive of another ILO Convention: No 182 on the worst forms of child labour – provided that the full range of children’s rights is respected ‘including their protective rights such as their right to education as well as their participative rights such as their right to information, their right to participate in decisions that affect them, and their right to organize, among others. In addition, they also stress that ‘any application of ILO 182 in practice would need to take into consideration the local contexts where children work to ensure that children’s best interests are always served.’
See HERE for the full text of the Open Letter.
posted by Roy Huijsmans
On Friday 15 January, 2016, Marina Korzenevica successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled ‘Negotiating Life Chances: The lives of young people and socio-political change in rural eastern Nepal’.
Marina carried out her PhD at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at Copenhagen University under the supervision of Jytte Agergaard.
Marina’s PhD thesis consists of four stand-alone articles (some of them already accepted for publication) usefully complemented by an introduction, a detailed context chapter, a field work chapter, a conceptual and theoretical chapter as well as a conclusion and epilogue. The thesis has grown out of a DANIDA funded research project entitled ‘Nepal on the Move: Conflict, migration and stability‘ and it stands out as it succeeds in bridging various fields of studies, including: youth studies, migration studies, household studies and Nepal studies.
Drawing on detailed ethnographic research in two remote settings in rural eastern Nepal the thesis is centrally concerned with how, through mobility, young people are negotiating their individual life chances and contribute to socio-political change in the context of post-conflict Nepal. The distinct focus on rural communities is an important contribution as most work on youth is typically urban-centred. In terms of gender, the thesis concentrates on both female and male youth. And more importantly, it unravels how cross-border migration of young men affects the mobility of young women – especially in relation to marriage. Another interesting feature of the study is the conceptualisation of cross-border labour migration as a form of ‘education’. This leads her to argue that despite young women’s increased educational attainment (increasingly, young women remain in school for longer than young men), it is young men’s educational capital (acquired through migration) that continues to be valued higher in everyday life.
Marina’s thesis was examined by Torben Birch-Thomsen (University of Copenhagen), Susan Thieme (Free University Berlin) and Roy Huijsmans (ISS).
Some interesting positions for Children & Youth Studies people: a funded PhD position at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and two Research Fellow positions in the UK (one at Plymouth University, one at the University of Strathclyde).
The PhD position in Amsterdam is a four year funded position that is part of an NWO-WOTRO funded project entitled Young Burundians tactical agency regarding sexual relations and decision making: From participatory research to evidence-based and practically relevant sexuality education. The successful candidate will be working at the Department of Anthropology and be affiliated to the ‘Health, Care and the Body Programme group‘. S/he will be conducting anthropological research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in Burundi. Further details can be found HERE.
The two Research Fellow positions are part of an ESRC funded project entitled ‘Here to Stay? Identity, belonging and citizenship among Eastern European settled migrant children in the UK (a decade after EU enlargement)’. The project will focus specifically on Eastern European migrant children who have lived in the UK for at least three years, and compare their everyday lives and sense of cultural and national identity and belonging across Scotland and England. The Research Fellows will work with Dr Daniela Sime, Dr Naomi Tyrrell and Dr Marta Moskal. For further details on the Plymouth based position see HERE, and for the Strathclyde position go HERE.
Category: Uncategorized5 Nov 2015
Kim Chi Tran is an ISS PhD student working on ICTs and schooling among children and youth in Mongolia. In her work, she employs a range of innovative participatory research techniques on which, among other things, she reflects in this BLOG posting.
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.