Social Justice for Children and Youth

Authored by: Susan P. Kemp

Routledge International Handbook of Social Justice

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415620437
eBook ISBN: 9781315857534
Adobe ISBN: 9781317934011


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What does social justice mean in relation to children and youth? Perhaps not surprisingly, the answers to this question are not easily found. Childhood, in all its stages, is quintessentially a liminal state. Conventionally, children and young people are viewed as adults in the making, not yet full citizens with all this status implies in terms of public rights and responsibilities. At least in theory, children and youth shelter within the private, protective realm of the family and its proxy institutions, such as the education and child welfare systems. In consequence, provisions for ensuring the welfare of children and youth and protecting their rights typically are filtered through the adults charged with their care (Qvortrup, 2004). Reflecting this pervasive, deeply held view of children and youth as not yet full members of the polity, the proliferating literature on theories of social justice is likewise resolutely adult-centric: children rarely appear (Bojer, 2000, 2005; Wall, 2012).

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