CRC's Performance of the Child as Developing

Ashleigh Barnes

in Law and Childhood Studies

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652501
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739217 | DOI:

Series: Current Legal Issues

CRC's Performance of the Child as Developing

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Law is enslaved to child welfare and child development experts. The agitation of a particular identity, or a categorization based upon alleged ‘natural’ characteristics, has been carried out in the context of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., to expose the unnaturalness and difference within that category. In an attempt to explore a similar critique of the child, this chapter recruits a Foucauldian critique of power and truth/knowledge to make the argument that the category ‘child’ is not based upon a set of natural and fundamental characteristics shared by those aged birth to eighteen — the operating presumption of the child in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). If there is no universal ‘child’, on what ground do the politics behind and the power relations dependent upon the fictitious universal child in the CRC stand? To examine the CRC's child, one must start by exploring the shape of rights given to the child. When these rights diverge from the rights given (or emphasized) to all other humans, one must look at the justification that is offered. The identification of that justification illuminates the CRC's true child, as though we are seeking to understand Pinocchio's goal: what it means to be a ‘real’ [child], in this case a ‘real’ child according to the CRC. The chapter argues that to be a ‘true’ or ‘real’ child, a person nominated a child must be ‘developing’. It then argues and seeks to explicate how the hierarchy of power surrounding the child is made possible.

Keywords: child; children; rights; developing

Chapter.  17266 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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