Chapter

Children and Young People as Moral and Legal Actors: Findings from Studies Conducted in Northern Italy

Roberta Bosisio

in Law and Childhood Studies

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652501
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739217 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652501.003.0013

Series: Current Legal Issues

Children and Young People as Moral and Legal Actors: Findings from Studies Conducted in Northern Italy

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The results of many studies show children's competence in terms of moral reasoning and action, and also their awareness of the discrepancy between their moral competence and the low moral status attributed to them by adults. These findings confirm that teenagers internalize a developmental model of moral growth and that the low social position attributed by adults to them also influences children's self-image. This chapter presents some examples drawn from the findings of three studies on normative and legal socialization, which show that young people possess high moral and legal reasoning skills. Boys and girls who participated in interviews and focus groups showed high competencies and a good ability to use different justice and moral criteria as well as a strong and realistic sense of the complexity of different moral situations. Moreover, they displayed a considerable ability to draw on a vast array of rules and moral principles and also normative and legal systems, which they chose in a selective and complementary way according to each given situation.

Keywords: moral reasoning; legal reasoning; children; competence; socialization

Chapter.  6780 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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