Rights, Needs and Duties

  • Stefan RamaekersEmail author
  • Judith Suissa
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 4)


In this chapter, we examine the theoretical framework offered by conceptual work on rights, needs, duties and obligations and its influence on the way discussions of parenting are framed within both academic and policy literature. We discuss the opposing philosophical position that the language of rights and duties is inappropriate in this context of personal relationships that are better conceptualized in terms of love, intimacy and trust. We show how neither of these positions captures the particular ethical demands and qualities of the parent–child relationship and how our account of the first-person perspective in effect cuts across this contrast. We also explore some recent initiatives to import contractual processes and ideas into parent–child relationships (e.g. the proposed ‘upbringing pledge’ in Flanders and similar suggestions in the UK)


Liberal Theory Moral Intuition Authoritative Parenting Moral Question Philosophical Work 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences Laboratory for Education and SocietyKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Policy and Society Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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