Children and childhood: Viewed through different disciplinary lenses
chapterposted on 2023-08-30, 19:48 authored by Hazel R. Wright
Children are our future, vital for the continuance of human society. They represent a sizeable proportion of the global population, so the well-being of contemporary society is dependent upon meeting their needs and developing their potential. By mid-2015, those under fifteen years old accounted for more than a quarter (26.1%) of a world total of 7.3 billion people (UN DESA, 2015). So children – their commonalities and differences, their welfare and education – must be central to global, regional and national policy. Children have always been important but have become more visible as a group in recent times, as nations developed the capacity to compute large numbers and to plan for long-term and global outcomes. This chapter focuses on these more recent times; it still reflects on change over time and place, but moves away from the historical treatment of childhood discussed in Chapter 1 to take a multi-disciplinary approach. It is interesting that UN statistics refer to children under fifteen, as the standard definition of childhood established by the 1989 UN Convention of the Rights of the Child sets the upper limit of childhood at eighteen. However, it is long recognized that, in many parts of the world, children have to assume adult responsibilities at a much younger age; the need to work to eat, a lack of educational opportunities and early marriage all play a role in positioning the age of majority below the UN ideal (Morrow, 2011).
Number of pages409
Place of publicationLondon, UK
Title of bookRoutledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare
EditorsPat Dolan, Nick Frost
- Accepted version