The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Cultural Legitimacy Critique

The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Cultural Legitimacy Critique

by Thoko Kaime




Thoko Kaime's The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Cultural Legitimacy Critique looks at the protection and promotion of children's rights through a socio-legal examination of the provisions of the world's pre-eminent children's rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book focuses on this singular question: Does the Convention provide a culturally appropriate framework for the protection and promotion of children's rights across different cultures? In examining this question, the book argues that the effective protection of the rights of the child will not be achieved unless the substantive protections are perceived as culturally legitimate by local communities and unless the implementation procedures are aimed at enhancing such legitimacy as opposed to merely ensuring adherence to form. The book benefits from a methodology that fuses international law methods with grounded anthropological narratives. It demonstrates that far from being abstract paper prescriptions, children's rights frameworks are but a species of social and cultural interaction and that effective promotion and protection strategies must be alive to this dynamic. The book is a useful introduction to cultural critiques of children's rights, in particular, and, indeed human rights generally.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789089521132
Publisher: Europa Law Publishing
Publication date: 09/20/2011
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface v

Acknowledgements vii

Contents ix

Chapter 1 Introduction

1 Background 3

2 Focus of the Book 6

3 General Approach 6

4 Significance 7

5 Scope 8

Chapter 2 The Birth and Development of Children's Rights

1 Introduction 13

2 The Structural Basis of Children's Rights at International Law 13

3 Universal Rights and the Struggle for Context 18

4 Documents Affecting Children's Rights: An African Example 22

5 Emerging Questions 26

Chapter 3 Relativist and Universalist Debates

1 Introduction 29

2 The Concept of Culture and its Relevance for Children's Rights 30

3 Cultural Legitimacy and its Relevance for Children's Rights 34

4 Relativism, Universalism and Children's Rights 37

4.1 Cultural Relativism and the Relevance of Cultural Context 39

4.2 Universalism and Human Rights 42

4.3 Mediating Between Universalism and Relativism 46

5 The Implications of the Debate for Children's Rights 49

Chapter 4 Mapping Childhood and Children's Rights

1 Introduction 55

2 The Concept of Children's Rights 55

3 The Concept of Childhood 60

3.1 The Changing Nature of childhood 65

3.2 The Conception of Childhood: An African Example 68

4 The Relationship Between Childhood and Children's Rights 72

4.1 The Image of Childhood at International Law 73

4.2 Children's Rights and the Dominant Image of Childhood 74

4.3 Obstacles to the Export of the Dominant Conceptions of Childhood 77

4.4 The CRC and the Changing Image of Childhood 80

4.5 A New Image of Childhood? 83

5 Concluding Remarks 85

Chapter 5 Principles of General Application

1 Introduction 89

2 The General Principles and Cultural Context: The Basis for an Ethnographic Approach 90

3 Non-discrimination: Concepts, Context and Contests 93

3.1 Maybe Not Good but Justifiable: Analysing the Pro-Distinction Narratives 96

3.2 It is Not Part of Our Culture: An Inquiry into Non-Discrimination Discourse 101

4 Best Interests: Tracing the Contours of a Shadow-Less Concept 104

4.1 Lost in Translation? Conceptualising Best Interests 107

4.2 The Child's Best Interests in Family Decision-Making 109

5 Survival and Development and the Interrelatedness of Children's Rights 112

5.1 Children's Survival and Development: Partnerships and Resource Networks 115

6 Participation: A Brief Introduction 122

6.1 Adaptation and Resistance: A Tale of Rudeness and Freedom 126

7 Concluding Remarks: Children's Rights in Cultural Practice 129

Chapter 6 Cultural Legitimacy and the Implementation of Children's Rights: Institutions and Process

1 Introduction 135

2 The Formal Protection of Children's Rights 136

3 The Scope and Efficacy of the Legal Protection of Children's Rights and the Prospects for Cultural Legitimacy 137

4 From the Legal to the Local: Local Institutions and the Cultural Legitimacy of Children's Rights 141

4.1 Key Local Institutions in Lomwe Country 141

4.2 The Clan 141

4.3 The Chief's Court 142

4.4 The Boma or the District Commissioner's Office 143

4.5 The Church 144

5 Local Institutions and the Potential for Children's Rights Protection 145

6 Incorporating Local Institutions in the Implementation of Children's Rights: Process and Prospects 151

7 Concluding Remarks 153

Chapter 7 Concluding Analysis

1 Introduction 157

2 Culture, Rights, the CRC and the Omnipresence of Change 158

3 Cultural Legitimacy and the CRC 163

4 Cultural Appropriation and the CRC 165

5 The CRC in Practice 166

5.1 Dissemination 167

5.2 Collaboration 169

5.3 Participation 171

5.4 Innovation 172

6 Concluding Remarks 173

Convention on the Rights of the Child 176

Bibliography 196

Table of Cases 214

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