Introduction

TitleIntroduction
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBonvin, J-M, Stoecklin, D
EditorStoecklin, D, Bonvin, J-M
Book TitleChildren’s rights and the capability approach. Challenges and prospects
Series TitleChildren’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research
Pagination1-17
PublisherSpringer
Place PublishedDordrecht, Netherlands
ISBN Number978-94-017-9091-1
Abstract

Children’s rights have hardly been analysed in terms of the capability approach (CA), which was developed by Amartya Sen (1999) and Martha Nussbaum (2000), and many other scholars. This book is among the first attempts to bridge the two, and it appears after a few contributions to this endeavour (Biggeri et al. 2010, 2011; Dixon and Nussbaum 2012). Children’s rights and the capability approach are not of the same nature: children’s rights are a social reality and the capability approach is a perspective to reflect on it. The capability approach is a way to operationalize formal freedoms (entitlements), and hence children’s rights. The challenges of applying a capability approach to children's rights include, notably, to go beyond the pitfalls of the new social studies of childhood. The contributions to this book are briefly presented. They highlight important issues that have to be taken into account to approach children's rights in new ways.

DOI10.1007/978-94-017-9091-8_1
Refereed DesignationRefereed

The theoretical orthodoxy of children’s and youth agency and Its contradictions: Moving from normative thresholds to a situated assessment of children’s and youth lives

TitleThe theoretical orthodoxy of children’s and youth agency and Its contradictions: Moving from normative thresholds to a situated assessment of children’s and youth lives
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDahmen, S
EditorStoecklin, D, Bonvin, J-M
Book TitleChildren’s rights and the capability approach. Challenges and prospects
Series TitleChildren’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research
Pagination153-173
PublisherSpringer
Place PublishedDordrecht, Netherlands
ISBN Number978-94-017-9090-1
Abstract

Recent developments within the discussion on children’s rights and in the new sociology of childhood come with a strong focus on children’s agency. They stress their status as a social and political actor, emphasise the need to view children as “beings” rather than “becomings” and highlight children’s autonomy and individuality. This chapter argues that the recent “theoretical orthodoxy” of children’s autonomy may purport an overly optimistic view on children’s agency and neglects inequalities within the space of childhood and youth. It describes the capability approach as a more appropriate approach for analysing inequalities within the space of youth and childhood. It overcomes some of the blind spots described. Particularly, it suggests that the capability approach provides an adequate link between prescriptive treaties (like the UNCRC) and descriptive-analytic approaches (like the sociology of childhood and youth). Based on a research project on transitions from school to work, the article reviews the role of welfare State institutions for the construction of children as social policy objects and for their access to citizenship rights, and analyses differences within the experience of youth that can easily be overlooked by a strong focus on children’s agency. The capability approach is used to develop a tentative framework for a situated assessment of children’s and youth lives. The chapter shortly reviews possible venues of childhood and youth research inspired by the capability approach.

DOI10.1007/978-94-017-9091-8_8
Refereed DesignationRefereed

Conclusion

TitleConclusion
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsStoecklin, D, Bonvin, J-M
EditorStoecklin, D, Bonvin, J-M
Book TitleChildren’s rights and the capability approach. Challenges and prospects
Series TitleChildren’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research
Pagination273-287
PublisherSpringer
Place PublishedDordrecht, Netherlands
ISBN Number978-94-017-9090-1
Refereed DesignationRefereed

Cross-fertilizing children’s rights and the capability approach. The example of the right to be heard in organized leisure

TitleCross-fertilizing children’s rights and the capability approach. The example of the right to be heard in organized leisure
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsStoecklin, D, Bonvin, J-M
EditorStoecklin, D, Bonvin, J-M
Book TitleChildren’s rights and the capability approach. Challenges and prospects
Series TitleChildren’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research
Pagination131-152
PublisherSpringer
Place PublishedDordrecht, Netherlands
ISBN Number978-94-017-9090-1
Abstract

The authors explore new ways of conceptualizing children’s citizenship and participation through the capabilities approach (Sen 1999) applied to children (Biggeri et al. 2011). They highlight factors that must be considered when observing how formal entitlements, such as the rights of the child, can (or cannot) be transformed into real freedom to participate. Their study conducted in Switzerland and in France shows the conditions for the right to be heard (art. 12 UNCRC) to be converted into effective participation in organised leisure activities. The authors identify four sets of factors (economical, political, organisational and personal) that convert or obstruct the child’s entitlement to participate in the definition of organized leisure activities. Two ideal types – bottom-up participation and top-down participation – are built along these lines. The research shows that child participation is mainly induced by professional adults working in youth associations and leisure centres while knowledge of “participation rights” is rather low. Respondents do very seldom use the narrative of “children’s rights” to reflect upon their praxis. This typical line of conduct, or “system of action”, indicates that social relations play a greater role than children’s rights in their subjective evaluation of participatory projects. The study highlights child participation as a sequential process whereby the actor’s reflexivity plays an important role as a converting factor, and thus enriches the theoretical model used in the capabilities approach (Bonvin 2008). The results have important implications for the paradigm of the social actor and contribute to the theory of child participation (Thomas 2007). They underline the instrumental dimension of participation rights as they become real through the exercise of participation itself. The chapter allows for important theoretical and practical developments in the field of child participation, notably by discussing the issue of agency within structure and suggesting a dynamic framework to understand agency as a system of action.

DOI10.1007/978-94-017-9091-8_7
Refereed DesignationRefereed

Character strengths and well-being across the life span: Data from a representative sample of German-speaking adults living in Switzerland

TitleCharacter strengths and well-being across the life span: Data from a representative sample of German-speaking adults living in Switzerland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMartínez Martí, ML, Ruch, W
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume5
Number1253
Pagination1-10
Date Published11/2014
Abstract

Character strengths are positive, morally valued traits of personality. This study aims at assessing the relationship between character strengths and subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, positive and negative affect) in a representative sample of German-speaking adults living in Switzerland (N = 945). We further test whether this relationship is consistent at different stages in life. Results showed that hope, zest, love, social intelligence and perseverance yielded the highest positive correlations with life satisfaction. Hope, zest, humor, gratitude and love presented the highest positive correlations with positive affect. Hope, humor, zest, honesty, and open-mindedness had the highest negative correlations with negative affect. When examining the relationship between strengths and well-being across age groups, in general, hope, zest and humor consistently yielded the highest correlations with well-being. Additionally, in the 27-36 years group, strengths that promote commitment and affiliation (i.e., kindness and honesty) were among the first five positions in the ranking of the relationship between strengths and well-being. In the 37-46 years group, in addition to hope, zest and humor, strengths that promote the maintenance of areas such as family and work (i.e., love, leadership) were among the first five positions in the ranking. Finally, in the 47-57 years group, in addition to hope, zest and humor, strengths that facilitate integration and a vital involvement with the environment (i.e., gratitude, love of learning) were among the first five positions in the ranking. This study partially supports previous findings with less representative samples on the association between character strengths and well-being, and sheds light on the relative importance of some strengths over others for well-being across the life span.

DOI10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01253
Refereed DesignationRefereed

Workers' movement out of declining occupations in Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland

TitleWorkers' movement out of declining occupations in Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMurphy, E
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Volume30
Issue6
Pagination685-701
Keywordsevent history analysis, intra-generational mobility, occupational change
Abstract

The employment structure undergoes constant change. Some occupations grow while others decline under the pressure of technological advances, internationalisation and welfare state reforms. This evolution at the aggregate level has been well documented. Our knowledge of how macro-level change in the employment structure is brought about through micro-level career adjustments is less extensive. Drawing on panel data, this paper examines the types of workers most likely to leave occupations that have declined over the past 20 years, and the most likely destination of these exits in Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland. The route out of declining occupations for female workers is towards low paid growing, while clerical workers are more likely to exit into high paid growing occupations than production workers. Production workers with lower levels of education, concentrated in manufacturing, are at higher risk than clerical workers of exiting into unemployment.

DOI10.1093/esr/jcu066
Refereed DesignationRefereed