9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Child Work and Economic Activity Building II, C6.02

The right to work as an"unwritten right" of children

The paper explains how the right to work - not codified in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - is conceptualized and justified by working children's organizations. The study is based on a discourse analysis of their communications. In these documents, a variety of arguments for the right to work can be found. Reference is made to the children's experiences, which reach from exploitation and humiliation by employers to criminalization and persecution as consequence of laws and measures against child labour. Centred on children's perspectives, the paper questions traditional conceptions of child protection and emphasizes the capacity of working children to create rights of their own and to implement them by organizing themselves. Children's rights are understood as a result of social interactions and questioning of adult-centred legislation. What needs to be taken into account are the own visions and efforts of children to create rights according to their concrete life experiences, and their specific interests.