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ERIC Number: ED479705
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Aug
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Autonomy and Vulnerability: On Just Relations between Adults and Children.
Ben Porath, Sigal R.
Legal and political theorists strive at expanding the scope of children's rights to cover further areas of their lives and choices. This paper suggests that this effort is misguided, and that the protection of children requires instituting adults' obligations, rather than broadening children's rights. Contrary to the common theoretical and societal tendency to focus on just and efficient ways of turning children into specific types of adults (most commonly citizens), the paper defends a view of children and childhood as deserving equal respect to adults based on regarding childhood not as an impediment, but rather as the first of many steps that make up human life. It presents the argument for just relations between the two social groups, adults and children relying on philosophical, psychological, and educational theories. The paper shows the contextuality of the conception of childhood and describes some of the basic elements of the contemporary Western conception of childhood. It defends the view of human life as a continuum in which all periods should receive equal respect against the prevalent view that regards adulthood as the standard according to which other phases of human life are weighed. It elaborates on the standardized view of society and compares children to women and foreigners to elaborate on the claim that groups outside the social norm are regularly misconceptualized and rendered insecure. The paper suggests that regarding childhood as an equal part of human life, and acknowledging its vulnerability, should lead to instituting adults' obligations to protect children as a basic component of just relations between adults and children. The conclusion indicates the advantages of preserving a variety of perspectives within society by respecting differences among its members. Contains 58 references. (BT)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A