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Mapping the social constructions of child labor in Quito, Ecuador

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Abstract:

The phenomenon of child labor has gained increasing attention over the last few decades. Various academic disciplines, sectors of society, and child workers themselves contribute to the dialogue, debate, and investigations that attempt to better understand the complex phenomenon. The variety of discourses portrayed by the actors involved demand a systematic examination of how each voice builds their social construction of childhood, labor, and child labor. Each construction differs according to the actors involved, individual and collective histories, context, and purposes. In order to fully understand the phenomenon this paper explores how the various actors in Quito, Ecuador construct child labor as a problem. It reports on an exploratory pilot study that used document analysis, field interviews with key informants, and focus group interviews with ex-child workers. Four dominant constructions regarding child labor are indentified: (1) child labor in relation to the adult labor market; (2) child labor undermines human capital formation; (3) child labor is an issue of social responsibility to protect children from exploitation; and, (4) a child-centered approach to child labor. These four social constructions serve as the framework to examine the differing perspectives in Quito regarding the role of work in children’s lives, the child’s proper place in social, political and spatial contexts, and what is regarded to be effective action to address the phenomenon. Historical and current representations of each social construction in Quito are provided and then conceptually mapped in reference to key similarities and differences. The paper concludes by indentifying vacant areas of the map, and argues how better knowledge of these unoccupied areas may advance current knowledge of child labor.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493387_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Dorn, Chad. "Mapping the social constructions of child labor in Quito, Ecuador" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493387_index.html>

APA Citation:

Dorn, C. , 2011-05-01 "Mapping the social constructions of child labor in Quito, Ecuador" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493387_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The phenomenon of child labor has gained increasing attention over the last few decades. Various academic disciplines, sectors of society, and child workers themselves contribute to the dialogue, debate, and investigations that attempt to better understand the complex phenomenon. The variety of discourses portrayed by the actors involved demand a systematic examination of how each voice builds their social construction of childhood, labor, and child labor. Each construction differs according to the actors involved, individual and collective histories, context, and purposes. In order to fully understand the phenomenon this paper explores how the various actors in Quito, Ecuador construct child labor as a problem. It reports on an exploratory pilot study that used document analysis, field interviews with key informants, and focus group interviews with ex-child workers. Four dominant constructions regarding child labor are indentified: (1) child labor in relation to the adult labor market; (2) child labor undermines human capital formation; (3) child labor is an issue of social responsibility to protect children from exploitation; and, (4) a child-centered approach to child labor. These four social constructions serve as the framework to examine the differing perspectives in Quito regarding the role of work in children’s lives, the child’s proper place in social, political and spatial contexts, and what is regarded to be effective action to address the phenomenon. Historical and current representations of each social construction in Quito are provided and then conceptually mapped in reference to key similarities and differences. The paper concludes by indentifying vacant areas of the map, and argues how better knowledge of these unoccupied areas may advance current knowledge of child labor.


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