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Title: 'A vertical slice' : child labour and the International Labour Organisation : a critical analysis of the transformation of vision into policy and practice
Author: Groves, Leslie Christine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This research embraces Nader’s (1980) suggestion that those studying children should consider the hierarchies which impact on the lives of those children they research. One of the most important hierarchies involved in child labour at present is the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations agency with the global mandate to work towards the progressive elimination of child labour. The thesis explores the labyrinthine world of the Organisation in the light of the realities of child labour; using multi-locale ethnographic research conducted between 1999 and 2000 in the International Labour Office (ILO) in Dar Es Salaam, in ILO headquarters in Geneva and in Mirerani, a mining village in Northern Tanzania. This thesis explores two key hypotheses. The first relates to current anthropological thought, expounded by Foucault influenced theorists such as Boyden, which argues that failure of organisations such as the ILO to successfully tackle child labour is due to the adoption of a ‘Northern construction of childhood’, which is then exported globally and imposed in culturally distinct countries. My hypothesis is that the vision of childhood used by the ILO is a far more complex process of negotiation and re-negotiation. I use historical and contemporary evidence to explore the roots of the campaign against child labour (Chapter 2) and the vision of childhood promoted by the ILO (Chapter 3). I draw on the arguments of Gardner and Lewis (2000) to argue that the ‘Northern construction of childhood’ theory denies agency to the many activists in non-Northern countries who have been central in developing and fighting for the vision of childhood promoted by the ILO. My second hypothesis is that it is not a particular vision or ‘construction’ of childhood which is responsible for failure to translate good intentions into successful programme implementation but specific bureaucratic procedures, power relations and human failings within the machinations of international bureaucracies. Drawing on the unique opportunity of working within the ILO for 14 months, I explore the multiple discourses and practices of those responsible for implementing the ILO ‘vision’ in Geneva and Tanzania (Chapters 4 and 6) in an attempt to explore what lies under the apparently rigid and ‘dehumanised’ organisational structures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available