Chapter

Becoming Versus Being: A Critical Analysis of the Child in Liberal Theory

Barbara Arneil

in The Moral and Political Status of Children

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199242689
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598715 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242682.003.0005
 Becoming Versus Being: A Critical Analysis of the Child in Liberal Theory

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The excessive faith liberal theorists have had in the power of rights and rights discourse can have deleterious consequences for children. As vulnerable and dependent beings, children need to be nurtured with love and affection in a setting in which intimate relationships between parents and children can flourish. A rights‐based discourse is conceptually ill‐equipped to accommodate the importance of establishing and supporting caring relationships. An ethic of care, emphasizing responsibilities over rights, provides a better way of conceptualizing and responding to the interests of children than thinking of children as proto‐adults with rights especially that to autonomy.

Keywords: autonomy; care; children; liberal theory; nurturing; parents; relationships; responsibilities; rights

Chapter.  12437 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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