Children, Structure and Agency
Realities Across the Developing World
By G.K. Lieten
Routledge – 2008 – 156 pages
The child labour debate, the Child Rights Convention and the target of universal primary education in the Millennium Development Goals have drawn increasing attention to children in developing countries. Alongside, a debate has waged on the need for child participation and the appropriateness of spreading allegedly western norms of childhood. This book aims to uncover the daily life of children in selected areas in Vietnam, India, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Nicaragua and Bolivia against the background of those debates.
Children, Structure and Agency takes a close look at the activities, the aspirations and the deliberations of hundreds of poor children in the age category from 9 to 14, on the basis of a dawn-to-sunset observation over a couple of days. By empowering children to make people listen to them, children can play a more an active role in their community. The book addresses the issue of such child agency and the structural constraints to that agency.
This text would be of interest to child-centred development aid organisations and scholars dealing with issues of child participation, child rights, child labour and education.
Introduction 1. Tradition and Child-Centred Approaches 2. Country Specific: Development Indicators, Child Conditions and Research Areas 3. Methodology 4. Leisure and Daily Life 5. School and Education 6. Child Labour 7. Ideas about Development: Problems and Priorities 8. Conclusions: Structural Constraints and Agency
G.K. (Kristoffel) Lieten (Belgium, 1946) studied in Antwerp, The Hague, Reading and New Delhi, where he obtained degrees in linguistics, political science and history respectively. He has worked extensively on political developments in South Asia and on issues related to development sociology. Lieten has been on the teaching staff at Department of Anthropology and Non-Western Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and presently holds the chair of Child Labour studies at the University of Amsterdam and at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. He is the director of the IREWOC Foundation (Institute for Research on Working Children) and in that capacity Dr. Lieten has initiated several research projects on child labour and child agency in various countries across the globe.