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Unit information: The Sociology of Childhood and Rights in 2020/21

Unit name The Sociology of Childhood and Rights
Unit code SOCI20078
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Okyere
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

The main aim of this unit is to introduce students to debates on, and experiences of, child rights and human rights from critical sociological perspectives. Child and human rights concerns are regularly cited in the description, pursuit and analysis of social change by academics, governments, policy makers, businesses, charities and civil society. Everyone is, in principle, in favour of child rights and human rights. Yet, ideas and practices about these rights, the nature of rights children and adults should enjoy and the nature of things which are deemed to violate these rights are subject to intense disagreements within and across cultures and societies. What accounts for these differences in opinion?

The unit assesses this question by first engaging with different theories and debates on the origins, nature and scope of human and child rights, including the meaning of childhood itself. This part of the discussions will trace the emergence of human rights and child rights, examine their related sociological theories and concepts and ideas, and grapple with critical debates on basis for / the legitimacy of the belief in human rights and child rights. Then, drawing on research studies, news reports, documentary films and case studies of phenomena such as child trafficking, forced labour, human trafficking, slavery, child labour, child prostitution and other phenomena deemed to constitute human and child rights violations, students will be given opportunities to critically interrogate the relationship between these (mal)practices on one hand and power, hegemony, globalisation citizenship, gender, class, ethnicity, migration, sexuality and other social identities on the other.

Unit Aims

• To introduce students to definitional, conceptual, theoretical and political debates on, and experiences of, child rights and human rights from critical sociological perspectives

• To equip students with skills on how to analyse, assess and communicate empirical information, media reports and information on human and child rights issues in a sociologically informed manner;


• To allow students to develop critical perspectives on how human and child rights concerns and debates are mediated by citizenship, gender, class, ethnicity, migration, sexuality, and other social identity markers

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the socio-politically constructed nature of human and child rights;
  2. Analyse, assess and communicate empirical information, media reports and information on human and child rights issues such as child trafficking, child prostitution, worst forms of child labour, forced labour, human trafficking in a sociologically informed manner;
  3. Critically evaluate some of the definitional, conceptual, theoretical and political debates on human and child rights
  4. Demonstrate familiarity with how debates on human and child rights are mediated by citizenship, gender, class, ethnicity, migration, sexuality, and other social identity markers

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

• Individual poster submission (25%) - tests ILOs 1, 2 & 4
• 2000 -word essay (75%) - tests ILOs 1, 2, 3 & 4

Reading and References

1. Bourdillon, M., Levison, D.; and Myers W., (2010) Rights and Wrongs of Children’s Work. Rutgers University Press.
2. Morris, L (ed) (2006) Rights: Sociological Perspectives. London: Routledge
3. Clapham, A (2007) Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
4. Howard, N (2017) Child trafficking, youth labour mobility and the politics of protection. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
5. Twum-Danso, A. and Ameh R. K (2012) (eds) Childhoods at the intersection of the local and the global. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
6. Montgomery, H. (2009) An introduction to childhood: Anthropological perspectives on children's lives. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

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