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Title: Translating rights : childhoods and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Oaxaca City, Mexico
Author: Smith, Anne Marie.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3421 913X
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2005
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The starting point for this thesis is the acknowledgement of the gap between the rhetoric around children's rights and the reality of children's lives at grassroots level. The purpose of my research is to bring this gap into focus, by exploring the disparities between the multifaceted and fluid nature of children's roles and the ideals and vision encapsulated in the child rights discourse. This thesis argues that normative perceptions of childhood and children's roles, which are embedded in society, lie at the root of this disparity and maintain a clear boundary between childhood and adulthood. These understandings of childhood are at odds with the lived realities of children's lives in Oaxaca, which blur fixed boundaries and challenge normative perceptions of who, what, where and how children should be. This divergence, between perceptions of childhood and real experiences of childhood, raises important considerations for the practical implementation of the CRC at the grassroots level, and is apparent in terms of language and pedagogical methods within institutional approaches to children's rights. Via a discussion of these embedded notions of childhood and adultist approaches to child rights teaching and advocacy, this thesis uncovers a key obstacle to the implementation of the CRC in terms of meaningful knowledge for children in Mexico. Empirical research was carried out in Oaxaca City, Mexico, with two groups of children who were participants in CANICA, a local NGO for street-working children in the city, and with one group of displaced Zapotec children from the region of Loxicha.1 The major focus of my research centres on this latter group; socially marginalised, displaced, and politically active, these children pose a considerable challenge to normative concepts of childhood and children's roles. Moreover, as participants in a political struggle these children do not fit the kind of participation envisaged by the CRC, local NGOs and the wider advocacy around children's rights, thus raising important questions regarding the limits of 'child participation' framed by articles 12 to 15 of the eRe. The field known as the New Sociology of Childhood Games, Jenks and Prout 1998; Qvortrup 1994), together with the international discourse and advocacy of children's rights, provide useful conceptual tools for the research. However, this thesis argues that normative, dichotomous, and largely Northern concepts of childhood are inadequate for the study of children's lives in Southern contexts such as Mexico. A key aim of the thesis is to explore the development of a Latin American sociology of childhood as a possible and more adequate framework for the study of children's lives in this region.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available