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?
What are some examples that you feel uncomfortable with?
A) Childhood outside market relations - review
•Other discourses of childhood
B)‘Acceptable’ child work?
-early job to gain the experience
- working can be part of growing
-Link to rite of passage
-Link to becoming: When is work educational and when is it exploitative?
•As vital contribution... – vital in single income households
-Labour within families - farming is vital in domestic labour
-Child as being?
•Link to innocence, protection and becoming
Mining – must be 18 or older to work underground
1. Legislated provincially -14 is general 2
•By age - 12 is BC/Alberta (under 12 in BC with permission)
- different ages accepted - 16 is Manitoba unless permitted
- need to ensure that you are getting education
•Protection of development
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.
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.
3) “Worst case” labour
•E.g. hazardous work
- considered dangerous
- mining/agricultural/factory work/shrimp farming
- considered cheap & obedient & expendable
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...
- a long way alone by Ishmal Bhea
- forced in soldiering/prostitution
- underground and very hidden
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
(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.
Challenging to address worst case labour
- age can be hard to determine
- not always prioritized
- some form worse than others 3
D) In summary
• Not always clear-cut
- depends on age
- kind of work
- where it is happening
• Some valuable aspects of work
- children should be treated differently at work