Feb 9 & 10, 2012
Week 5: Children and youth as producers and consumers
I/ Children and work
II/ Young people and work in Canada
III/ Commodification of childhood
IV/ Children as consumers
-Idealized childhood is complicated by processes of production and consumption
-There are diverse and culturally specific distinctions between what is considered
acceptable and unacceptable work for children
-Childhood itself is commodified
I/ Children and work
What are some examples of work that young people do that you feel okay about?
Chores, delivering newspaper, cutting grass, dog walking, house sitting, washing cars,
shoveling snow, etc.
What are some examples that you feel uncomfortable with?
Factory work, heavy labor, construction, metal work, mining, cooks, lifting, sweatshop
worker, long hours.
A) Childhood outside market relations - review
Historically in the 1900’s we started to see increasing division of the realm of the home
and the realm of the workplace.
•Other discourses of childhood
B)‘Acceptable’ child work?
•As training...More comfortable if work is seen as some type of training. Idea of chores
as being practice or preparation.
-Link to rite of passage
-Link to becoming: When is work educational and when is it exploitative?
•As vital contribution...
-Labour within families
Family farms, etc. 2
In some families paid work is a vital part of a family. The money is needed.
-Child as being?
Children make a contribution, they are acting subjects
•Link to innocence, protection and becoming
1. Legislated provincially
14 is considered the age where young people can work. In Manitoba it is 16 without
special permit. In British Columbia and Alberta, the age is 12, with certain limitations.
If you are under 16 you can’t work more than 3 hours on a school night, school needs to
be a priority.
18 is the age to get involved in mining.
•Protection of development
In New Brunswick, you cannot employ someone under 16, in work that may be
unwholesome to someone in any way.
A lot of exceptions where many young children can work in agriculture.
2) Within UN CRC
Article 32.1 States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from
economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to
interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical,
mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
Does not say children should not work, just says the environment should be good.
Article 28: Right to education
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education…
[and] make them available and accessible to every child.
Education and work are interrelated.
3) “Worst case” labour
•E.g. hazardous work
Any type of work that is dangerous, such as mining, factory work, etc. Any exposure to
chemicals, lifting, etc. 3
Article 38.2 States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who
have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities.
Article 38.3 States Parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained
the age of fifteen years into their armed forces...
Despite this clause there is a considerable number of child soldiers in the world.
Article 34: States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual
exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular
take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual
(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual
(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.
Challenging to address worst c