Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work

Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work

Hardback Series in Childhood Studies (Hardcover)

By (author) M. F. C. Bourdillon, By (author) Deborah Levison, By (author) William E. Myers, By (author) Ben White

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  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 25mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 1 December 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New Brunswick, NJ
  • ISBN 10: 0813548888
  • ISBN 13: 9780813548883
  • Edition statement: New ed.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work: New Perspectives from Research and Action explores the place of labor in the children's lives and child development. Almost all the world's children work at some time in their lives. Some kinds of work are extremely harmful; other kinds are relatively harmless; still others are beneficial, a positive element in growing up. It is questionable whether current child labor policies and interventions, even though pursued with the best intentions, are succeeding either in protecting children against harm or in promoting their access to education and other opportunities for successful futures. By incorporating recent theoretical advances in childhood studies and in child development, the authors argue for the need to re-think assumptions that underlie current policies on child labor. Rights and Wrongs uses interdisciplinary methods to understand children's work as a component of child development, which cannot be treated independently of children's varied lives. In the first few chapters, well-documented historical cases ranging from contemporary Morocco to 19th century Britain question common assumptions about children's work. The authors examine concrete situations of work and schooling, suggesting that not all paid work outside the home is harmful to children, and that not all unpaid work-not even all work in the family or school-is harmless to children. Later chapters explore ideas of children's independency in the workforce as well as how working as a child can positively contribute to adolescent development. The authors, while remaining sensitive to the abusive nature of some children's work, maintain that a "workless" childhood free of all responsibilities is not a good preparation for adult life in any society.

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Author information

MICHAEL F. C. BOURDILLON is a professor emeritus in the department of sociology at the University of Zimbabwe. He has worked with street children in Harare, and with working children regionally and internationally, and is the author and editor of several books including Earning a Life: Working Children in Zimbabwe. DEBORAH LEVISON, an economist and demographer, is a professor at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Much of her research focuses on third world children's work and schooling in the context of the household. WILLIAM E. MYERS is retired from the United Nations, where he addressed child work issues with UNICEF and the ILO. He is currently an associate in the department of human and community development at the University of California, Davis. BEN WHITE is a professor of rural sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, and a professor in social sciences at the University of Amsterdam. His books and edited volumes include Child Labour: Policy Options.