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The Street Child as an Object

  • Riccardo Lucchini
  • Daniel Stoecklin
Chapter
Part of the Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research book series (CHIR, volume 21)

Abstract

The reification of “street children” through a stigmatizing label legitimizes interventions for the sake of public order and children’s protection. The conformist institutional discourse of the “child-victim”, based on a rhetoric of dramatization aimed at generating pity, is prevalent in public opinion, administration and the political world. On the other hand, the interactional discourse of the “run-away child” held by professionals working with “street children” is heavily influenced by a psychological perspective focusing on the child and his/her personality, often perceived as irrational and deviant. Academic approaches have evolved from a structuro-functionalist perspective on “street children”, as victims of the socio-economic inequalities and life circumstances, to a view of the child as a social actor negotiationg identities and survival strategies. A vivid example from China illustrate how CSS do this within the constraints of the social representations of childhood that mediate the subjective relationships between them and their environment and tend to reproduce current domination.

Keywords

Label Discourse Actor China Childhood Representations Domination 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riccardo Lucchini
    • 1
  • Daniel Stoecklin
    • 2
  1. 1.Professor EmeritusUniversity of Fribourg Professor EmeritusCorminboeufSwitzerland
  2. 2.Centre for Children’s Right StudiesUniversity of GenevaBramois/SionSwitzerland

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