ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 2 Issue 2 - December 23, 2008

Rethinking Vulnerability: European Asylum Policy Harmonization and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors

by Annamaria Enenajor

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors (UAMs) are often labelled as an increasingly vulnerable group by practitioners and policy-makers alike. The aim of this paper is to interrogate the vulnerability of UAMs by situating the issue at the intersection of laws that, on the one hand, explicitly seek to secure universal child protection and that, on the other hand, seek to exclude and deter migration, even of those seeking asylum, to the EU,. This paper attempts to rethink the vulnerability of UAMs by addressing the contentious relationship they have with their country of asylum, rooting this vulnerability in Europe’s recent political and economic developments. It explores the growing critical vulnerability-protection literature on young refugees, challenging the strict conception that UAMs are inherently vulnerable. It will be contended that the vulnerability of UAMs is often produced by the ways in which they are excluded through the legal and policy frameworks of the countries they find themselves in. Consequently, the harmonization of EU asylum policies may not necessarily result in the protection of UAMs because a salient factor framing their experience in Europe - the growing hostility towards “illegal migrants” - remains unaddressed.

"Today I was a Mittagskind" – a Small-Scale Study of the Home Literacy Practices of a Four-Year-Old Multilingual Girl

by Misti Savage

Studying home literacy practices offers possibilities for learning how children in the early years acquire and use their multilingual abilities in multilingual contexts. Here it is argued that examining the home literacy practices of early years children within international contexts and discovering how these children use their different languages may teach us about how their literacies are developing in a multilingual environment. This article begins with an overview of research conducted in the area of home literacy practices as well as a brief review of some multilingual research conducted within the New Literacy Studies perspective. It then reports on one four-year-old child’s home literacy practices. It explores the multilingual usages within the home and tries to discover what role multiliteracies are playing in literacy development. The findings support the significance of authentic literacy encounters in the emergent literacy perspective including environmental print and popular culture texts.

Childhood and Rights: Reflections on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

by Catarina Tomás

This article reviews the main themes and issues that have appeared in the literature on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) about children’s rights in the context of globalisation. The Convention is widely acknowledged to be a normative and symbolic landmark in the context of children's rights but two decades after its adoption by the United Nations, it is argued that it is important to carry out a detailed and critical reflection on and revision to the Convention, because childhoods and the situations of children throughout the world have been overtaken by new problems, ambiguities and exclusions.

Is respect an obstacle to or a facilitator of child participation? A study of children’s participation in the cultural context of Madagascar

by Milfrid Tonheim

This article presents empirical data on child participation collected during ten months in Toliara, Madagascar. It focuses on how culture affects the parent-child relationship and the child’s notion of and experiences with participation. It further discusses how culturally required behaviour determines the possibility and level of child participation in decision-making processes at home. The particular focus is on which role respect plays in shaping the context of child participation in Madagascar. The article suggests that respect may serve both as a facilitator and as an obstacle to child participation. It points to different types of respect, and that respect’s effect on child participation seems to depend on the origin of or the basis for that respect.

Le respect est-il un obstacle ou un facilitateur à la participation de l’enfant ? Une étude de la participation de l’enfant dans le contexte culturel de Madagascar.

by Milfrid Tonheim

Résumé : Cet article présente des données empiriques sur la participation de l'enfant collectées pendant 10 mois à Toliara, Madagascar. Il se concentre sur la façon dont la culture agit sur la relation parent-enfant, et la notion et l’expérience de la participation de l’enfant. Il examine comment un comportement culturellement requis détermine la possibilité et le niveau de participation dans le processus de prise de décision à la maison. L'objectif principal est de montrer le rôle que joue le respect dans la formation du contexte de participation de l'enfant à Madagascar. L'article suggère que le respect servirait autant de facilitateur que d'obstacle dans la participation de l'enfant. Il pointe les différents types de respect, et le fait que l'effet du respect sur la participation semple dépendre de l'origine ou de la base de ce respect.