» Archive for category: ‘research

An illegal babies home in Uganda that was closed down in 2013

An illegal babies’ home in Uganda that was closed down in 2013

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.

Flyer announcing hunger strike by Guatemalan mothers whose children were abducted into adoption

Flyer announcing a 2009 hunger strike by Guatemalan mothers whose children were abducted into adoption

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.


The ECPAT office in Bangkok is looking for a Senior Researcher.

ISS alumna who have specialised in Children & Youth studies are especially qualified as the position requires, among other things:

  • Post-graduate degree in human rights, development studies, law, international relations, law or social sciences;
  • Updated knowledge of major international and regional policy, legal and programme frameworks relating to human and social development, child/human rights and child protection-related issues;
  • Experience in working with human rights and social development issues, specifically as these relate to the rights of children and child protection, ideally in the area of sexual abuse and exploitation;
  • Experience and demonstrated capacity of advocating for children’s rights and other social issues internationally and/or regionally;

Please note that the vacancy is still open despite the April deadline stated in the ad.


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.

Note further a fully funded PhD position and two postdoctoral positions with the project but based at Brunel University.


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).


Category: jobs/interns| research| scholarships

11 Nov 2015

indexSome 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.

Maki Suyama from Japan (CYS, 2011) recently completed a 3-year post working for UNICEF Ethiopia’s Research, Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation section as a Programme Officer in Addis Ababa. Her duties included drafting fact sheets, policy briefs and evaluations of UNICEF’s work in children’s rights advocacy. She also assisted in efforts to improve the quality of the evaluation, research, and government cooperation.

Maki says,

“What I liked about my job with UNICEF was trying to improve the quality of the programme in the scientifically proven way. As a member of the Research Committee, I assisted in revisions to the Terms of Reference. The Research Committee process is very similar to the RP draft seminars at ISS, so my experience at ISS helped me to improve the quality of UNICEF’s work.

Maki PhotoOverall, my job required academic knowledge (e.g. how to develop a research question, how to write methods in the report, how to write policy briefs, etc.), so my experience at ISS was really relevant to my job. Moreover, to recognize different discourses about children is very helpful when I attend meetings or review internal/external reports, because I can understand each stakeholder’s position. So I can say that the knowledge from CYS classes was incredibly useful for my job.

When I got my MA, I believed I was free from reading. But in reality, I had to read more documents than I did at ISS to develop my ability to progress in my job. This is not what I expected, but I enjoyed it.”

If you are an alumna/alumnus of an ISS CYS program who would like to share what you’ve been up to with the CYS community, please contact Kristen Cheney at cheney@iss.nl



A new special issue of the journal Global Studies of Childhood on ‘Children and young people in times of conflict and change: Child rights in the Middle East and North Africa’ has just been released. The special issue, which is the culmination of a TEMPUS-funded project in which several European universities with programs in children’s rights – including ISS – collaborated with four universities in Jordan and Egypt to develop a diploma program in Public Policy and Child Rights. ISS faculty member Kristen Cheney was involved in the project, and she also served as co-editor of the special issue with Debbie Watson of Bristol University and Heba Raouf Ezzat of Cairo University.



The special issue includes an article by ISS alumna Hind Farahat and Cheney. Entitled “A facade of democracy: Negotiating the rights of orphans in Jordan”, the piece draws on data and findings from Farahat’s MA research to argue that Jordanian orphans’ direct action during the Arab Spring did not yield its expected results due to the persistently patriarchal social and legal constrictions of their citizenship in Jordan.

Farahat graduated from ISS with a degree in Social Policy for Development and a specialization in Children & Youth Studies in 2013. She currently works as a program development officer for TechTribes as well as director of child and youth programs for the Ecumenical Studies Center in Amman.

You can view the full table of contents for the special issue on the Global Studies of Childhood website.

Anthropology of Youth

Category: research| youth

10 Jun 2015


The online journal Open Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association offers a theme-issue on ‘Approaching Youth in Anthropology’.

All articles are entirely open access for a period of 6 months (starting as of June 9), and can be accessed HERE.

The issue features a total of 15 articles previously published in various AAA journals like the American Ethnologist, American Anthropologist, Ethos, and Anthropology and Education Quarterly, ranging from a book review by Robert H. Lowie of Margareth Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa published in 1929 to more recently published work like Craig Jeffrey’s Timepass (2010).

Altogether it is a great set of articles, and an excellent introduction to anthropological studies of youth.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


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



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.

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.