Paper Abstracts



Early Marriages of Girls in Albania

Juliana Ajdini, Ph.D., Department of Social Work and Social Policy, University of Tirana

Child marriages, especially girl’s marriage represent a big problem for the Albanian society. Maintaining patriarchal mentality and tradition based on arranged marriages at an early age continue to be problematic even in our days generally shared for girls. The aim of the article is to explore the reasons that have forced women to be included in the early marriages, their experiences and challenges that are faced after the marriage. The method used is through qualitative semi-structured interviews with 13 women who are married at the age of 13-15 years. Sampling has been intentional without probability. The findings are interesting about how it happened the process of decision for marriage. Mostly it has been a matchmaker who came and asked the girl's hand for marriage. Four of the respondents were engaged from the cradle in order to establish friendly relations with the future husband's family. The age difference between partners was on average 13 years. Seven of them have seen their partner only in the marriage day. Marriages at early age have forced these girls to leave their dreams for education or to fall in love with another person or to follow their dreams. Problems arising in the article recommend for action by the harsh laws and community structures because these girls suffers the violation of their rights just in the era when talking and mostly fought for them. Sexual abuse, early maternity, drudgery they face in the name of changing the status of children in adults, leaving the family of origin, etc. are issues that must be addressed by policy makers and social work professionals.


Hope and Hopelessness Under Occupation: Contradictions in Place for Palestinian Children and Families

Bree Akesson, LMSW, MPH, School of Social Work, McGill University

The occupation and its related violence has become a normalized feature of life in the occupied Palestinian territories (the oPt) and has shaped the lives of Palestinians for generations. The continual remapping of this region has separated Palestinians from their homes, lands, and livelihoods (Shehadeh, 2008). Forced displacement and restrictions on movement have ruptured social relationships (Taraki, 2006), which has consequences for children; for when family members are suddenly separated from one another, the family unit is undermined and children's protective environments are compromised. Even when not separated from their family members, many children live in settings charactierized by the threat of violence in their homes, schools, and neighborhood communities compounded by abject poverty resulting from decades of oppression (Hart & Lo Forte, 2010; Save the Children UK, Palestinian Counseling Centre, & Welfare Association, 2009). Despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges, Palestinian children continue to craft identities related to their connection to place.

This paper explores the paradoxical experience of hope and hopelessness for Palestinian children and families, using the theory of place as a lens through which to view children's negotiations with their environments. In 2012, eighteen collaborative interviews were conducted with Palestinian children and their families, using a combination of narrative, mapmaking, drawing, and neighborhood walks. The data showed that hopelessness is a prominent part of children's daily lives. Yet hope was also present, taking on diverse forms of resilience and resistance. Between the opposing forces of hope and hopelessness stood children's identity, defined in connection to home, neighborhood communitites, and nation-state.


Hart, J., & Lo Forte, C. (2010). Protecting Palestinian children from political violence: The role of the international community (Forced Migration Policy Briefing No.5). Oxford, UK: Refugee Studies Centre, Oxfor Department of International Development.

Save the Children UK, Palestinian Counseling Centre, & Welfare Association. (2009). Broken homes: Addressing the impact of house demolitions on Palestinian children and families. Jerusalem: Authors.

Shehadeh, R. (2008). Palestinian walks: Forays into a vanishing landscape. New York, NY: Scribner.

Taraki, L. (Ed.). (2006). Living Palestine: family survival, resistance, and mobility under occupation. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Trojan, V. (2009). Child rights situation analysis: Right to protection in the occupied Palestinian territory - 2008. Ramallah, Palestine & Shu’fat, Jerusalem: Defence for Children International - Palestine Section & Save the Children Sweden.


The Legal Construction of Childhood: Critical Approaches to Children & Capacity

Ashleigh Barnes, J.D., Levin College of Law, University of Florida Ph.D. candidate, College of Law, Australian National University

This project aims to engage the law’s differential treatment of children as compared to adults in various common law jurisdictions, examining the legal justification underpinning an identity category premised on innate difference. While the law’s differential treatment of children rests on the apparently sturdy pillar that children are inherently and fundamentally different from adults, disciplines existing predominately outside of law query not only the perceived fundamental difference between childhood from adulthood, but also the foregone conclusion that children should be treated differently from adults. Nonetheless, dominant perspectives that engage children and the law remain firmly rooted in the basic assumption that childhood is defined by a period of varying levels of incapacity. The critical aim of this project is to engage the basic assumptions made about childhood and to illustrate the limits of dominant approaches to children and the law. The project pursues this aim by critically examining the instances in which a minor gains legal capacity prior to reaching the age of legal capacity in the context of criminal law. This project will survey juvenile justice law in the United States, Australia, and India, particularly the minor’s graduation to criminal responsibility. This project will examine legislation detailing the ages of culpability, along with legislative history and judicial decisions that weigh factors for such a determination including the severity of crime, age, gender, race, socio-economic class, repeat offence, and so on. The project will focus on the factors that lead to the determination of whether a child will be tried as an adult.


Movements on Street Corners: Mobility and Youth Provision in Urban Guinea

Clovis Bergère, clovisco@gmail.com, Ph.D. candidate, Rutgers University at Camden

Informal meeting spaces on street corners, vacant lots or simply improvised outside a shop--often known as “bases” (Ismael, 2009) or “bureau”--have long been a key feature of social life for urban youth in Guinea. Spatially and temporarily, these highly mobile urban forms that disappear and reconstitute in seemingly arbitrary and spontaneous ways, some lasting years, some only the space of a weekend. What’s more, as first stops for visitors and travelers and nodes where information about distant--and not so distant--places is exchanged, these youth spaces have long played a key role in the constitution of “cultures of migration” (Klute & Hahn, 2007). As such they reflect the changing status of mobility and migrating as modes of operating in the Guinean city. Drawing on images and texts from a recent research engagement project conducted with young people in Labé and Conakry, this paper starts by exploring dome of the changing dynamics of movement for West African youth as reflected in these informal meeting spaces. What theoretical and practical questions are raised by these new forms of mobility for youth policy and programmatic interventions that still tend to be formally based on the assumption of a sedentariness? How is it complicated by the “bifurcated” nature of urban governance in Guinea? What productive ways could be devised that engage these movements--rather than ignore or abuse them--in remaking the Guinean city?


Subjects, Citizens, or Civic Learners? Judicial Conceptions of Childhood and the Speech Rights of American Public School Students

Phillip Buckley, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Educational Leadership Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

This article, based on a qualitative analysis of 81 legal opinions, considers the relationship between judicial conceptions of childhood and the speech rights of American public school students. The author presents six main principles from the opinions and examines the relationship between them and conceptions of childhood. The article shows that the opinions reflect three primary conceptions of childhood: as a period walled off from adulthood in which children are subjects; as a period of becoming in which children are civic learners; and as a period akin to adulthood in which adults and children, as well as their respective rights, are fundamentally the same. The article concludes that judicial conceptions of childhood have helped produce a body of law that reflects and perpetuates society's inconsistent and ambivalent beliefs regarding childhood.


The Work/Education Nexus: The Experiences of Migrant Child Domestic Workers in the Philippines

Agnes Zenaida V. Camacho (agnes_camacho@yahoo.com), Ph.D. candidate, Radboud University, Nijmegen

This paper explores the varied ways in which children and young people marginalized through poverty negotiate the constraints (and opportunities) around them in the process of making their choices of school-to-work transitions. It looks into the unconventional routes taken by children and young people, particularly in their decision to migrate from their rural communities of origin to the cities as domestic workers. Through life-story interviews with six child domestic workers in Metro Manila and Batangas City, we learn that continuing their education figure highly in the migration goals of many of these child domestic workers. Whenever possible, they combine schooling and work. The analysis of the work/education nexus is also informed by the results of a survey done with 250 child domestic workers in the Philippines, particularly on the subjects of migration, work, and education.

This paper challenges the dominant tendency of seeing children and young people’s migration for work as “failed migration” and depicting them solely as “victims” or “failed migrants”. This paper acknowledges that there are aspects of successful transitions to adulthood resulting from even these unconventional approaches to school-to-work routes, without downplaying their problematic and oftentimes exploitative nature. Policies and programmes for child domestic workers need to consider the complexities of the risks and benefits involved in the migration for work process, cognizant that education is high among their migration goals.


“Too Young To Wed”: Globalized Connections and Gendered Economies of Visibility

Virginia Caputo, Associate Professor and Director Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights, Carleton University, Ottawa

Global forces that drive contemporary social, economic and political processes are changing people’s lives and young people are changing along with them. Such rapid changes bring with them greater uncertainty, insecurity, and heightened risk (Franklin 1998; Giddens 2000), especially in the lives of girls.

In the context of globalizing forces, the intensification of girls’ lives and girlhood provides a marker of globalization. Drawing on fieldwork (Caputo 2013) conducted in conjunction with a touring exhibition of the United Nations Development Fund sponsored photo exhibit on early forced marriage titled ‘Too Young To Wed’, this paper considers the notion of intensification and the gendered economy of visibility, and how these inform the ways young girls are conceptually understood as well as how girlhood is imaged and lived. Drawing on photographs and interviews with viewers of this exhibit, this paper explores the complexity of girls lives in the context of ethnic, religious, racial and other conflicts, how these complexities create uncertainties in girls’ lives and how they are imaged (Collins 2013; Orr 2012). Taking the view that girls are engaged social actors willing to respond, resist and effect change for their own social lives, the question remains how to do so meaningfully in the context of globalization. The paper ends with a consideration of this notion of agency as it intersects with the ‘mediated’ and the ‘real’ lives of girls.


Early Childhood between Global and Local Policies in Egypt during the Mubarak Era (1981-2011)

Chiara Diana, Institut de Recherches et d'Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (IREMAM); Aix-Marseille Universite

In 1990 the worldwide program Education for All (EFA) is launched by international organizations and agencies (UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank). The program made an urgent appeal to governments to commit for attainment of development goals and to help developing countries achieving international indicators in social, educational and economic domains. The first of the six goals of the EFA aims at expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

As Egypt is strongly involved in the globalization movement, developing a system of early childhood care and education becomes one of the priorities of Mubarak governments and for the First Lady Suzanne Mubarak. Egyptian political decisions for implementation of education reforms as well as social initiatives for strengthening protection of children and mothers, embrace international statements for fulfillment of basic learning, respect of children's rights and attainment of international development indicators.

How do Mubarak governments formulate child-centered political discourse in relation with that of international experts? Which are the local actions implemented in response of the global appeal? Do they have any concrete social and/or educational impact on children, families and whole society?

In the light of historical events occurred recently in Egypt, I will analyze missing and/or successful national policies and requests for social change and justice that merge both into implementation of an efficient system of protection and education for the Egyptian youngest generations.


Children’s Rights and Corporal Punishment Reform in a Moroccan Classroom

Christine Nutter El Ouardani, Lecturer, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago

International development organizations consistently rate Morocco as having one of the worst education systems in the world. These rankings, along with fears that Moroccan students will not be able to compete in the global economy, have led the Moroccan government to make the reform of the national education system one of its highest priorities. At the same time, transnational organizations like UNICEF have developed a number of programs designed to encourage the enforcement children’s rights in Morocco, and specifically to decrease violence against children in families and in schools. Both international organizations and local officials have thus singled out disciplinary practices in the classroom as one significant barrier to children’s learning and to the enforcement of children’s rights. Drawing upon both French and American pedagogical theory, Moroccan reformers emphasize the importance of more egalitarian relationships between students and teachers to create an environment under which critical thinking and group cooperation can flourish. Corporal punishment, which has been used for hundreds of years in Moroccan education, was banned in classrooms in Morocco in 2000.

In my paper, I examine how this ban was taken up in a rural primary school near Fez. Although most of the teachers continued to enact and to stress the importance of corporal discipline in their classrooms, the first-grade teacher developed new disciplinary techniques that de-emphasized fear and pain, while drawing upon local disciplinary logics. Drawing upon Western and Islamic pedagogy, he adapted the spirit of the educational reforms to local practices of play and discourse (including jokes, insults, and threats). I consider how children’s rights discourses misread the ambivalence inherent in disciplinary practices in this context by characterizing these practices as simply harmful, and the way in which these same rights discourses are influencing and changing classroom practice.


Institutionalization of Children with Impairments in the Russian Federation: The Solution That Never Was

Ekaterina Evdokimova, PhD student, International Institute of Social Studies Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

There are presently about one billion people in the world who have impairments. Two hundred million of these people encounter significant difficulties in their daily lives; 13 million of these are children (WHO, WB 2011: xi). The placement of children in institutional care is a common response to impairment in Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE and CIS) countries. In the Russian Federation, about 23,000 children with impairments presently live in institutions (Federal State Statistics Service 2013). They stay there for a considerable part of their lives, cut off from family and community (UNICEF 2007).

While the quality of life at Russian institutions varies depending on factors such as the size of the institution and the personal attitude of the principal and staff, they all suffer from deficiencies such as poorly remunerated and motivated staff, isolation, lack or absence of education and poor health services.

Reasons for institutionalization include traditions and societal norms, limited access to basic social and medical services, inaccessible buildings and transport, as well as stigmatization and the unpreparedness of mainstream institutions and society as a whole to meet the needs of such children.

The present article examines the situation of children with impairments in the Russian Federation through the lens of children’s rights, keeping in mind that Russia has ratified the two most relevant international conventions (the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and has established similar standards in its own national law.

Erving Goffman’s Asylu ms (1961) questioned the assumption that separating particular groups of people in institutions is the right thing to do. Institutions often present themselves as a humane solution, but in fact they serve as a place to hide all “mismatched” or different people (Goffman 1961). Institutionalization has never been a solution for Russian children with impairments, and the present paper describes why.


Federal State Statistics Service (Last updated 2013) 'Invalidity'. Accessed 28 March, 2013 <http://www.gks.ru/wps/portal/OSI_N/ZDRAV#>.

Goffman, E. (1961), Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates; Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books

UNICEF (2007) 'Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities', No. no. 13. Florence, Italy. UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre.

World Health Organization, World Bank (2011) World Report on Disability, WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data, Malta


Remote acculturation in 21st century youth: Cross-cultural findings and implications

Gail M. Ferguson, Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Remote acculturation--taking on cultural identity, attitudes, and behaviors of a distant culture based on indirect and/or intermittent exposure--presents a new way to understand the psychological impact of cultural globalization, especially on youth (Ferguson, 2013). Remote acculturation has given rise to a new type of bicultural youngster who resembles emigrants from his/her country living in the new country, but without emigrating him/herself. The purpose of this invited talk is to introduce the concept of remote acculturation, to describe cross-cultural research on this topic, and to discuss its implications for youth development and well-being.

Ferguson and colleagues pioneered conceptual and empirical work on remote acculturation in the form of "Americanization" in Jamaica, where there is a heavy emphasis on U.S. tourism development (over 1 million annual U.S. tourists), coupled with the pervasiveness of U.S.-produced media. They found that 33% of urban Jamaican adolescents on the island adopt a part-American identity, American entertainment behaviors, and American family values (Ferguson & Bornstien, 2012). In additions, these "Americanized" Jamaican island youth experience more parent-adolescent conflict associated with an acculturation gap.

Taken together, remote acculturation studies across countries show that "Americanization" is present both in the urban Caribbean (Jamaica) and in Africa (South Africa), among early adolescents and emerging adults, is not dependent on close geographical proximity to the United States, and is present across genders and races (Ferguson & Adams, under review; Ferguson & Bornstein, 2012; Ferguson & Bornstein, under review). However, the vehicles that transmit American culture vary based on context, and remote acculturation is less prominent in rural areas due to lower exposure to these vehicles (Ferguson & Adams, under review; Ferguson, Desir, & Bornstein, 2013). The speaker will address the limitations of this nascent body of research and share future directions for research and practice.


Approaching Reconciliation from the Bottom-Up: Primary Schooling in Post-Conflict Peru

Kate Grim-Feinberg, Ph.D., Lecturer, LAS Global Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rural highland towns in the Ayacucho Region of Peru experienced great turmoil during the internal armed conflict of the 1980s and early 1990s that was initiated by the Shining Path’s Maoist guerilla war. Two decades later, the legacies of civil war, counterinsurgency, and reconciliation frame the lives of children growing up in communities devastated by the conflict. From the perspective of adults, children in their early years of schooling represent an opportunity for re-educating a nation and re-shaping society in the image of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous citizenry. In war-torn areas, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations play a vital role in constructing this image of a rehabilitated community, contributing both material resources and experiential knowledge of the reconciliation process in other parts of the world. While these contributions are valuable and perhaps essential, they result in a top-down approach that risks overlooking cultural particularities and everyday realities of those children meant to be re-educated as peaceful democratic citizens.

This paper, based on 14 months of ethnographic research, examines the impact of educational policy rooted in reconciliation recommendations on actual school practice in a post-conflict primary school. My research shows that top-down discourses designed to address reconciliation have little tangible impact on children’s understandings of citizenship and participation. The foreign-derived language propagated in textbooks, posters, and other materials feels foreign to children, who fail to incorporate these concepts in a meaningful way into their everyday practices. Simultaneously, however, children and teachers alike bring into their classrooms forms of participation rooted in Andean cultural practices and social organization that are implicitly democratic and peaceful.

These findings point to the potential efficacy of a bottom-up approach to reconciliation policy. Such an approach would begin by identifying points of convergence between externally established policy goals and locally rooted practices, and then make these connections explicit in policy and practice. A child-centered, bottom-up approach, I argue, would place children’s perspectives at the center of implementation and would make a meaningful impact on children’s understandings of their worlds and engagement with society.


Child Labor in the Philippines in the Early American Period

Olivia Anne M. Habana, Assistant Professor of History, Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Islands became a colony of the United States following the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and came under the American program of “Benevolent Assimilation”. Among the many social issues that the American colonial government addressed was the matter of child labor, which was intertwined with the wider issue of slavery, and became a major discourse in the country. American officials imagined Philippine slavery much as it had been in the United States: one of actual possession and ownership of the person and his children. This belied the complex nature of labor relations and dependency in the Philippines: debt dependency and levels of indenture in the pre-colonial era, as well as debt peonage in the nineteenth and 20th centuries.

The discourse on slavery in the Philippines thus started out with this lack of correspondence between the American idea of chattel slavery and the complex labor and dependency relations in Philippine society.1 This became even more complex when the peonage or labor indenture involved children. The discourse on child peonage and slavery reveals how both sides perceived the role and function of the child in society. Debt dependency and the economic value of children’s labor were deeply rooted in Philippine society. Informed by child-saving ideas in the United States, the insular government sought to outlaw child labor, maintaining that the only place for children was in school. Ironically, while officially pursuing this position, many Americans employed children themselves and justified this on charitable and sometimes racial grounds.

Using official documents, journals, memoirs and correspondence of American teachers and officials, this paper will investigate the issue of child labor and indenture in the early American colonial period in the Philippines, (1898-1912). In particular, it will look at ideas of child indenture and the institutions which both supported and deterred it. It will also look beyond the institutional and social aspect and surface the voices and experiences of the indentured children. (See Secondary Source below.)


Asamblea Filipina. 1914. Informe Sobre la Esclavitud y Peonaje en Filipinas. Manila: Bureau of Printing. Donaldson, Anna K. “Account of First Two Years in the Philippines,” in Mary Racelis and Judy Celine Ick. 2001. Bearers of Benevolence: The Thomasites and Public Education in the Philippines. Pasig: Anvil Publishing Inc.

Freer, William B. 1906, The Philippine Experiences of an American School Teacher. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Jenks, Maud Huntley. 1950. Death Stalks the Philippine Wilds: Letters of Maud Huntley Jenks. Edited by Carmen Nelson Richards. Minneapolis: The Lund Press Inc.

Worcester, Dean C. 1912. Slavery and Peonage in the Philippine Islands. Manila: Bureau of Printing.


Salman, Michael. (2001). The Embarrassment of Slavery: Controversies over Bondage and Nationalism in the American Colonial Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.


Comparing the American and Mexican (Non)Responses to the Large-Scale Presence of U.S. Citizen Children in Mexican Schools

Edmund T. Hamann, Associate Professor of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Víctor Zúñiga (vzuniga@udem.edu.mx), Director of the División de Investigación y Extensión, Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico; and Juan Sánchez García (juan.sanchez@iiiepe.edu.mx), Director of Instituto de Investigación, Innovación y Estudios de Posgrado para la Educación (IIIEPE), Mexico

This paper, grounded by a 10-year (and counting) binational, mixed methods research project that has located more than 1000 students in Mexican schools with prior experience in the U.S., contrasts the emerging response in Mexico to such transnational students with the little traction this research has had gathering the attention of U.S. educational policymakers. When the research project started in 2003, it was unclear if there many children who left U.S. schools to move to Mexican ones (because of the concurrent movement of their families or a change in their guardianship). Nor was much known, if there were such students, whether their U.S. or Mexican educational circumstances were similar--How long had they typically been in the U.S.? How were they faring in Mexican schools? Did they imagine their future in the U.S.? Our study suggests that there are likely more than 400,000 educación básica students (grades 1 to 9) in Mexican schools with prior U.S. school experience. It also shows that, as an only partially overlapping category, there are likely more than 300,000 students in those same grades who were born in the U.S. and who thus by birth are U.S. citizens. These findings (and others) have led Mexico’s Secretaria de Educación Pública to publish a book and teachers guide that we prepared, to organize workshops, and otherwise to act to raise awareness of these students, but they have generated only research interest in the U.S. (e.g., academic conference presentations). So this paper ends by considering what a more formal U.S. policy response could and should be related to these students


Sticks and Stones and (Children’s) Stories of Violence and Abuse: Configuring Family and Belonging in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s Shantytowns

Alysa Handelsman, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

How do children survive and come to think about family, belonging, and their futures when they are raised in neighborhoods plagued by gang wars, in households structured around abusive forms of discipline, and on streets where they are harassed by passers-by and beaten by police officers for working and begging for money to support themselves and their families? This paper is based on my ethnographic fieldwork in Guayaquil, Ecuador with children (from 8-17) and their families. I focus primarily on the stories children share with me of their experiences growing up and use these stories to discuss family structures and ties in Guayaquil’s shantytowns and how children talk about and think about family, love, and belonging within environments of extreme violence and abuse. Some of the children I work with have been abandoned by their biological parents and are raised by aunts, cousins, siblings, grandparents, or group homes. A majority of the children who participate in my research project have undergone emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse, and the perpetrator is often someone from their own household. These children talk about murder and abuse casually, and they even laugh, at times, as they narrate details and events that are terrifying and severe; but all of these events form part of their everyday lives. The danger and the violence, for them, has become routinized and expected. My paper, then, shares and analyzes these stories to explore the ways children experience violence in their everyday lives and the ways in which their families form part of these cycles of violence. How and when do children feel, show, need, and seek out love and possibilities for belonging and protection within violent and dangerous contexts that encourage them to be tough and to grow up as quickly as possible, as independence often serves as the best form of protection and the best hope for survival?


The Psychological Aftermath of Being a Child Soldier

Kirk O. Hauser, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The story of a person’s life when told to another can release in the imagination of each curiosity and questions about life. Horrific experiences in life may stimulate the deepest questions. This paper reveals insights gained from listening to the stories told by former child soldiers that help clarify the psychological aftermath carried by those who participated in Liberia’s wars between 1989 and 2003, an aftermath similar to that experienced by other former child soldiers throughout the world. This paper also examines the mental preparation required by the listeners of stories almost beyond conceivable thought who wish to understand. Accounts given by two former child soldiers are described; one Ugandan, the other Liberian, each forced early in their lives to witness and commit some of the most horrendous acts imaginable. These two former child soldiers could be any number of the thousands whose stories could be told. Conditions in which this researcher participated to obtain two dozen interviews are also discussed. Finally, plausible insights are presented regarding the psychological aftermath in former child soldiers.


Collisions of debt and interest: Youth Negotiations of (In)debt(ed) Migration and the Best Interests of the Child

Lauren Heidbrink, Anthropologist and Assistant Professor in Behavior in the Social and Behavioral Sciences at National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois

Amidst a shift from the state’s enforcement and surveillance of the migrant Other to civil society’s disciplining of bodies, discourses of care have emerged particularly around efforts to humanize the detention of migrant children. If apprehended by ICE, the state, civil society and families enter into complex negotiations surrounding the care and custody of the child, each staking, at times contradictory, claims to the child’s best interests. By tracing the tensions between diverging assessment of best interests rooted in cultural conceptions of childhood and youth, agency, rights, and obligation, this paper argues that Guatemalan-Maya youth are dismissed as economic actors and therefore, neither benefit from existing forms of legal relief under immigration law nor from specialized provisions afforded to children in other areas of U.S. law. Upon closer examination, the ways debt and repayment are structured in communities in Guatemala complicate over-simplified tropes of victim and economic actor as well as assessments of a youth’s eligibility for legal status in the U.S. From fieldwork in U.S. detention facilities for children and in Guatemala with repatriated youth and their families, the paper examines the social imaginary of the repatriated youth and how youth and their families negotiate social and financial indebtedness with institutional actors both at “home” and abroad. The tension between the international principle of best interests of the child, the deportation regime, and (in)debtedness in Guatemala traps youth in untenable situations that not only complicate their reintegration into Guatemalan social life but also reinforce circular migration.


International Adoption in Communist Romania

Dr. Luciana-Marioara Jinga, Executive Director, The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, Bucharest, Romania

Once in power, the communist regime in Romania applied population policies inspired by the Soviet model. In a very similar manner, communist Romania combined the modern European ethos of social engineering with Marxist eschatology. This meeting resulted in a stable set of practices, characterized by its own particular development. According to communist propaganda, the increase in capacities and aspirations of the new communist state was unprecedented.

For a positive result, the national body itself had to be to the best possible. This is way, without explicitly accepting the eugenic visions that characterized the inter war Romania, the communist regime took over many of these solutions, such as: social and maternity protection, better health care and a wider medical network, a lower infant mortality, better, financial benefits and special working conditions for mothers. The failure of these measures already benefit from strong, well known studies on the pronatalist policies or the faith of institutionalized children. But not all the orphans in Romania remained in state institutions, often, when the demand existed, they were put for international adoption, a much less studied aspect that generated and still generates strong debates not only in Romania but also at a international level.

The center of my study is a threefold analysis: the general policy of the Romanian communist regime towards international adoption, preferred countries of destination, the existence of formal and informal networks for international adoption that continued working after the fall of the communist regime.


The Protection of Children’s Property Rights

Sandra F. Joireman, Weinstein Chair of International Studies Professor of Political Science University of Richmond

The relationship of children to the state is a legally complex issue due to the unusual nature of children, who need physical nurture, care and protection and at the same time carry with them the future of the political community. Where the state is not strong or when it is under threat from violent conflict, it is often unable to fulfill the full extent of its responsibilities with regard to civilian, and specifically child, protection. The motivation for the paper is to review the challenges of protecting the property rights of vulnerable children in contexts where the prevalence of civil conflict, HIV/AIDS and displacement due to violence are significant social problems. The paper will review the common and civil law understandings of children and their property, also touching on customary law as it relates to inheritance. The nature of children’s property, as a future right protected by the guardianship of a parent, means that children’s property rights are under the greatest threat where the life of the parent is in danger or parents are separated from their children. In these cases the loss of a parent or the displacement from ‘family’ property severs ties that assure children of future property access. These issues will each be discussed in turn specifically in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of customary law and undocumented property rights are particularly problematic. Specific attention will be given to the protection of children’s property rights in areas where there is legal pluralism and customary law may hold greater sway than public law.


Interrogating the Construction of Child Marriages as an obstacle to Education

Shenila Khoja-Moolji Instructor, Graduate School of Education, Queens College, City University of New York Instructor, Department of History and Philosophy, State University of New York at Old Westbury Doctoral Student, Teachers College, Columbia University

In recent policy discourses, exhortations for adolescent girls’ education in the global South are accompanied with outcries against what is described as ‘child marriages’ or ‘early marriages’ assumed to be prevalent in these regions. Development organizations such as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and philanthropist groups such as The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown (OGSB) have embarked on campaigns against child marriages arguing that marrying girls at young ages leads to disruption in their education and constitutes a violation of their human rights. This paper problematizes the policy focus on child marriages by interrogating into the conceptualizations of ‘childhood,’ ‘girlhood’ and ‘marriage,’ that inform this discourse, and inquiring into the affects towards which they direct us. I attempt to unfold the complicated processes of how children’s bodies, desires and meanings are made and understood in and through educational policy discourses. Specifically, I seek to take away the coherence with which child marriage is presented as an obstacle to education by showing that the discourse on child marriage is put together contingently out of heterogeneous discourses, ideas and knowledges.

I propose that the problem of child marriage is produced when elements of three different discourses - discourse on modernity; discourse on neoliberal governmentality; and discourse on adolescent sexuality - come together to bring it into effect. I demonstrate that the above mentioned policy campaigns produce and transmit conceptualization of young girls as asexual, innocent, and “subjects-in-process” (Lesko & Talburt, 2011, p.2), who are in need of constant guidance to develop into adults. Any deviation from the linear, normative developmental path is constructed as an abnormality, a violation of human rights, and thus makes space for intervention. I, therefore, bring to attention to the ways in which campaigns against child marriage make space for closer management and disciplining of girls in the global South. Yet, these campaigns also employ scientific and educational discourses (such as highlighting the dangers of teen pregnancy) to establish adolescent girlhood as being capable of sexual desires. These contradictory ideas of innocence and sexual desire function to blur the boundaries between childhood, adolescence and adulthood, making visible the social construction of these very categories.


Lesko, N. (2001). Act Your Age!: A cultural construction of adolescence. Routledge: New York and London.

Lesko, N & Talburt, S. (2011). Keywords in youth studies. Tracing affects, movements, knowledges. Routledge: New York and London.

The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown Limited. (2012). Out of wedlock, into school: combating child marriage through education. Available at: http://gordonandsarahbrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Child-Marriage-FINAL-for-Print.pdf

United Nations Population Fund. (2012). Marrying Too Young End Child Marriage. UNFPA, New York.

United Nations Children’s Fund. (2001). Child marriages must stop. Florence, Italy.

United Nations Children’s Fund. (2005). Early marriage: A harmful traditional practice - A statistical exploration. New York.


Bringing Down the Walls: Teenagers’ Perceptions and Experiences of Belfast as a Divided or Shared City

Madeleine Leonard, Professor of Sociology, Queen’s University, Belfast

One of the most perplexing legacies of the conflict in Northern Ireland is the peace-walls which continue to separate Protestant from Catholic areas, particularly in Belfast. Despite Northern Ireland’s new status as one of the most successful examples of resolving what was once seen as an intractable conflict, the peace-walls remain in place. Sporadic rioting also continues to flare up particularly around parades demonstrating the fragility rather than the durability of Northern Ireland’s peace process. The involvement of young people in these riots is particularly perplexing given that this group have grown up against a backdrop of paramilitary ceasefires, the signing of a Good Friday agreement and the establishment of a power-sharing political framework. The purpose of this paper is to explore these contradictions by presenting young people’s perceptions and experiences of the physical and symbolic divisions that exist in the ‘post conflict’ city and the ways in which they (re)produce, negotiate or challenge them in their everyday lives. The paper will examine the micro-geographies of young people and draw attention to the social practices, discourses and networks that, directly or indirectly, (re)shape how they make sense of and negotiate life in ‘post conflict’ Belfast. The paper draws on research carried out as part of an ESRC large grant Conflict in Cities and the Contested State (www.conflictincities.org) and focuses on 14-16 year old teenagers growing up in Belfast. Teenagers in this age group were not directly involved in ‘the troubles’ yet they are often associated with ongoing low levels of sectarian violence. As such, they provide an interesting lens through which to explore the continued (ir)relevance of ethno-national divisions in Belfast and how these are sustained or challenged by young people.


What is Childhood: Maybe We Have It Wrong? An Ethnographic Look into Childhood in a Brazilian Favela

Ashley Nascimento, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University

The idea of having a globally recognized conception of what it means to be a child has been shifting as childhood researchers attempt to relocate the child in regards to location, time, and space. The study of common discourses around what it means to be a child or what is childhood, are being highly contested as cultural researchers claim that the idea of childhood is socially and culturally constructed.James (2004) proposes a new paradigm for childhood where the experiences of childhood and adolescence are mediated by culture. Childhood, then, does not consist of one universal form constructed through biology, but rather is a social experience that is informed by cultural experiences. These social experiences, as Gittins (2004) points out in her research, suggest that certain social groups in relation to a historical period have defined the term childhood. Through this, childhood has been mischaracterized as being "equal, universal and in some ways, fundamentally identical" (p. 35). My proposed paper will highlight some of the ways in which childhood is depicted by children within a Brazilian favela. After working, volunteering and completing a four month ethnography in one of Rio de Janeiro's Northern favelas, I will offer alternative ways of understanding childhood, and look at how these different ways of knowing can be implicated in current conceptualizations of children and in the policies made for and about children. I will explore the implications of looking at ideologies around children and childhood as globally constructed, universal ideologies, and assess the ways in which these ideologies and assumptions have certain implications for policy, education and other provisions for children.


'Goodbye Street Life': Assuming the Best Interests of Street Children in Indonesia

Harla Sara Octarra, Ph.D. student in Social Policy, Edinburgh University

The Government of Indonesia (GoI) is committed to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and in 2010 the Ministry of Social Affairs Republic of Indonesia (MoSA) introduced its new social welfare policy for children to prove its commitment. Street children is one of the targets of this new policy that acts as one example of GoI's obligation to implement the UNCRC. The policy requires street children's families to prevent them from working in the streets. It assumes the best interests of street children within the family's interests. This conception, which many sociologists refer to as "familialisation" directs the new policy, and creates different problems for street children in Indonesia. Using the UNCRC perspective, this essay criticises the new policy by showing that its familialisation approach, that is coupled with problematic implementation of the policy, is far from the best interests of the street children. Embarking in rights-based direction, the new policy expects more challenges than successes in addressing the intricate problems of street children in Indonesia.


Girls, Human Security, and Reintegration of Child Soldiers: A Re-evaluation of Strategies

Eileen Prescott and Casmeer Mae Reyes, Institute of International Studies, Bradley University

Given gender differences in experience and response of former child soldiers (e.g. Betancourt et al., 2011), and the significance of the issue of gender to human security, what are the most important components of a reintegration program for female former child soldiers?

An estimated 300,000 child soldiers are involved in today’s armed conflicts. In addition, even though many states have implemented demobilization and reintegration programs, researchers have tended not to focus on the plight of female child soldiers in particular, who constitute between a tenth and a third of children recruited in armed conflict (Fox, 2004: 465). Current disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs insufficiently address the effects of the gendered treatment that female child soldiers face; their roles, ranging from combatant to domestic sex slave, have exposed them to extreme forms of violence and indoctrination that continue to dictate their post-war identities (Denov, 2006: 320). It is necessary to better understand the gender dimension of child soldiers in order to more effectively evaluate strategies for their reintegration. We therefore draw on the international relations human security literature, for example Fox (2004) and MacKenzie (2009), to develop an analytical framework that considers not only the gendered nature of the treatment of child soldiers, but also the implications of that reality for constructing post-war security domestically and regionally. We then use this framework to re-evaluate DDR strategies in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We hope to conclude with recommendations for a program framework that would best serve girls and women—as well as their communities and states—in post-conflict times.

Works Cited

Betancourt, T.S., I.I. Borisova, and J. Williamson (2011). Sierra Leone’s Child Soldiers: War Exposures and Mental Health Problems by Gender. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(1), 21-28.

Denov, M.S. (2006). Wartime Sexual Violence: Assessing a Human Security Response to War-Affected Girls in Sierra Leone. Security Dialogue, 37(3), 319-342.

Fox, M.J. (2004). Girl Soldiers: Human Security and Gendered Insecurity. Security Dialogue, 35(4),465-479.

MacKenzie, M. (2009). Securitization and Desecuritization: Female Soldiers and the Reconstruction of Women in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone. Security Studies, 18, 241–261.


Building Evidence to Support Decision-Making in Child Protection in Liberia

Mónica Ruiz-Casares, Assistant Professor, McGill University Center for Research on Children and Families

The 14-year war in Liberia resulted in the separation of many children from their families yet the tendency towards institutionalization continued beyond the war. Despite the government of Liberia’s support for family-based care, it is estimated that more than 3,500 children currently in orphanges have living parents. Additionally, a moratorium was established (still ongoing) on new adoptions until appropriate regulations and procedures are established domestically to protect adoptive children, birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents. The lack of information on caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices in this realm interferes with program planning to support the implementation of the 2011 Children’s Law.

In order to develop targeted and effective interventions and to evaluate changes over time, a mixed-methods baseline Child Protection Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) Study was implemented with Save the Children in twelve districts in Central and Western Liberia. For the last fifty years, KAP surveys have gained popularity in health-related fields due to their cost effectiveness and focused scope. However, they are a new in the field of child protection. Adults and children participated in a three-stage stratified probability household KAP survey (n˜1550), individual (n=55) or group interviews (n=197). Scientific and ethics approval were obtained in Montreal and Monrovia. A local Advisory Committee engaging government international donors and development partners, I/NGOs, and academia, oversaw the study. Several procedures were used to control data quality throughout the process and to ensure high ethical and safety standards, both for participants and researchers. This presentation will describe the study process, methods, and results, and discuss the potential of KAP surveys in the field of child protection in low-income and post-conflict settings.


Worldwide Outlook for Children (WOC): A Web Resource Offering Global Perspectives of Young People's Experiences

Maria Schmeeckle, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University and Brian K. Gran, Department of Sociology and College of Law, Case Western Reserve University

The Worldwide Outlook for Children (WOC) is an internet resource of information of young people's wellbeing, rights, and interests. WOC is available to anyone who seeks to identify, understand consequences, and explain sources of young people's experiences. WOC is designed for use by everyone, from scholars to policy makers to young people. Recent innovations in Childhood Studies have focused attention on children as active agents with interests and perspectives worth knowing. Widespread ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has led to a stronger focus on children's rights and wellbeing. WOC demonstrates how social scientific evidence can sharpen our awareness about various structural disadvantages children experience worldwide and the countries and regions in which multiple disadvantages and inequalities exist. Among different resources, WOC presents evidence of children's physical health and survival, educational attainment and resources devoted to educational success, violence committed against young people, and children's work experiences. As scholars learn more about children's legal and informal rights, interests and aspirations, psychological wellbeing, social interactions, choices, levels of resilience, and spiritual beliefs, we become aware of much more that we want to know about young people and their experiences from a global perspective. During this presentation, we will discuss methodological challenges and substantive gaps in global knowledge of children's wellbeing, rights, and interests, and how we might move forward to develop more comprehensive and holistic understandings. We will consider how measurement, theoretical, and cross-cultural questions challenge social science's ability to grasp outlooks for young people worldwide.


Cultures of Collaboration: Intergenerational Relationships in the Peruvian Movement of Working Children

Jessica K. Taft, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Davidson College

Article twelve of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) gives children the right to political expression and the right to have their views be “given due weight.” The articulation of children’s political capacity implied in the participatory article substantially reconfigures the imagined relationship between adults and children, situating children as autonomous and capable social actors. Despite this transformative vision, there is often a substantial gap between the ideals of children’s participation and the realities of cross-generational interaction within organizations and government institutions. Implementing children’s full participation remains challenging, in part because individuals and organizations are embedded within larger social and cultural contexts that continue to describe children primarily as passive objects of socialization, rather than as competent citizens. In this paper, I explore how the Peruvian movement of working children, a movement that has emphasized the leadership and agency of working children in addressing issues of “child labor,” strives to enact children’s full rights to participation. For the past 37 years, this movement has developed spaces for young workers to organize themselves in order to promote and defend their rights. This organizing is done alongside adult colaboradores who provide continuity and ongoing support for the working children. I draw on ethnographic field research and interviews with this movement in order to argue that this culture of collaboration changes adult-child relationships and empowers kids to become confident political actors, but that actual power-sharing between children and adults continues to be challenging and limited. Situated in the context of the fairly extensive children’s rights landscape in Peru, this movement is a powerful case study for understanding the cultural and structural factors that shape and limit the possibilities for implementing children’s full political participation and leadership in democratic life.


Protected childhoods, unregulated futures? Child Weavers and Transnational Child Rights-Based Policies in Southern India

Miriam Thangaraj, Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This paper considers the situated effects of transnational child rights-based policies--the “no work, more school” mantra, as an official put it--enforced over the last decade in the southern Indian town of Kanchipuram, as they articulate with the neoliberal economic policies initiated in the area and epitomized by Special Economic Zones that attract multi-national capital. Renowned world over for its rich and vibrant silk saris, the hand looms of Kanchipuram also became a site of global surveillance when child weavers and apprentices were moved off the loom and into school, in an effort to “give them back their childhood.” Drawing on over twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork, I map the paths that Kanchipuram’s child workers traversed as they are moved off the loom and into school--but also, in the process, moved out into the unregulated workplaces of the local, fringe economy or the multi-national assembly-lines of ‘Special Economic Zones’ (SEZs). Framed as a conversation between Anthropology of Policy (Shore & Wright 1997) and the emerging Anthropology of Childhoods field (Bluebond-Langner & Korbin 2007), the paper unpacks the schooling of ‘childhood’ as a political technology for the ordering of contemporary life. The twin global imperatives of rendering Kanchipuram a ‘child-labor-free zone’ while recasting it as “industrial corridor of excellence” form the warp and weft, as it were, on which the fabric of daily life is woven; one in which the patterns of childhood are tightly regulated to protect child workers, even as the dense social networks that constitute the weaving community unravel, leaving the adult worker unprotected in the face flighty, multi-national capital. My paper considers how global and globalizing narratives about schooling, childhood and development normalize the paradox of protected childhoods and unregulated futures in Kanchipuram


Child labour and its elimination in Burkina Faso: practices and paradox of labour inspectors' role in enforcing child labour legislation

Joséphine Wouango University o f Liège ( Belgium ) and Laval University (Québec - Canada)

The growing body of literature on child labour in Burkina Faso (a West African country) has mostly addressed, since the 1990s, the causes, the nature of work and the dangers encountered by working children (e.g., MTSS-IPEC, 1988; Traoré, 2009; Author 2012b for a full overview). The first national survey (National Institute of Statistics, 2008) revealed that in 2006, 41.1% of children aged 5 to 17 years old were economically active and half of them were performing “dangerous work.” Whereas much has been written about these aspects, less attention has been paid to the examination of the degree to which international child labour standards have been enforced in this resource-poor country.

Accordingly, this paper presents the real functioning of public service, namely the labour inspection whose role is to enforce child labour legislation and to protect working children. Based on qualitative analysis of 20 labour inspectors’ opinions, it addresses the challenges of implementing child labour legislation in Burkina Faso. The paper shows that the labour inspectors, in their everyday activity, have to permanently deal with the “risk margin.” On the one hand, they have to enforce the child labour laws and on the other hand they need to recognize the harsh living conditions of children at work and their parents. Their practices reveal a paradoxical situation: the labour inspectors control child labour but in the formal sector where there are very few children at work. On the contrary, the less control child labour in the informal sectors (quarries, mines, farms) where thousands of children are performing “dangerous activities.” The paper explains the reasons of this paradox and addresses the global challenges facing policies and practices in the fight against child labour in Burkino Faso


A More United Planet? Global Community and Representations of Youth on a Voluntourism Website

Margaret Zeddies, Center for English Language and Culture for International Students,Western Michigan University

Over the past decade, United Planet has emerged as a popular voluntourist company that proclaims its mission is to “unite the world in a community beyond borders.” This slogan reflects United Planet’s dissolution of cultural and geographic boundaries in favor of a global community ethos. Appealing to minority-world youth eager to gain cultural capital as global citizens, United Planet thus promises an experience that will transcend both physical and cultural borders in the act of building a global community. Indeed, projects with youth in the majority world are the most popular in vountourism, often involving visiting orphanages, building a school, or providing cursory English lessons. However, the process of symbolically demolishing borders to establish a global community is constructed in different ways for youth from the majority world and those from the minority world, belying United Planet’s promise of a more equitable world community.

This paper argues that the relations of power embedded in the social construction of space and youth in United Planet’s digital landscape limit the realm of action, movement, and global citizenry to the minority-world voluntourist youth. Additionally, the majority-world youth depicted in the host communities are limited to facilitating the global movement of the minority-world youth. I identify three key points in United Planet’s global community discourse: the concept of relationships, the interaction of global and local within these relationships, and connotations of development work in the voluntourist projects. I connect these key points to specific, sedimented discourses of youth: the romantic youth, the universal youth, and the future-oriented youth. Utilizing these discourses, United Planet establishes dichotomies between the minority- and majority-world youth: providing versus needy, global versus local, and developer versus developed. The end result of these articulations is a cosmopolitan volunTourist who belongs to both the local and the global through their relationship with a youth from the host community, who remains firmly fixed in one place. This paper offers a new perspective for voluntourist companies to design better policies in their programs.


Ethiopian Adoptees in the U.S.

Waganesh Zeleke, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Psychology and Special Education, Duquesne University

The number of American families choosing to adopt a child from Ethiopia has increased exponentially since 2004. Between 2006 and 2011 alone, 13.5% of internationally adopted children in the USA came from Ethiopia. Currently, Ethiopia is the leading country from Africa and the second leading country internationally to send a large number of children for adoption to the USA. In 2009, for example, 2,722 children were adopted from Africa. Out of this, 2,277 (84%) were from Ethiopia.

Following international placement of children, numerous researchers have studied the psychological adjustment of adopted children; the results are mixed, with most researchers concluding that internationally adopted children are typically either well-adjusted or overly represented in the clinical population. However, studies during the 1970s to 2010s viewed adoptees primarily from countries such as Romania, China, Korea, and those from South America, so little is known about whether these conclusions can be generalized to adoptees from Africa. In this case, children brought to America not only must cope with their adoption status, and with the fact that they came from a country that is culturally different from the country they now live in, but they also need to deal with all of these issues from their racial, ethnic and cultural identity point of view.

Based on an exploratory survey research result, this presentation aims to address the psychological adjustment of Ethiopian adoptees and common issues that Ethiopian adoptive parents deal with. This study examined the psychological adjustment and relational development of thirty-five children from Ethiopia adopted by twenty-five Montanan families in US. All children were adopted between 2007- 2010. The result of this study pointed out factors (e.g. parents’ adjustment, parenting skill, & parents’ multicultural competency) that related to adoptees positive adjustment, and specific issues (for e.g., Havening no child history) that adoptive families deal with in raising an Ethiopian child.


It's all about "Management": The Rising Discourse of Neo-Liberal Citizenship and Entrepreneurial Self in China's Early Child Education

Gehui Zhang, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois

In the past three decades, the conception of modern childhood and the child rearing practices in China have experienced profound changes. One of the common observations made by the scholars is that in echo with China's further embrace of open market and deepened integration in world's capitalist economy, neo-liberal view of the child was promoted in both policy and practice by state bureaucracy, the market, and the scientific professions (Naftali 2007). scholars such as Greenhalgh and Winckler argue that in the past twenty years, China's state control over theyoungest generation had converted from a more oppressive model to the subtle but effective way of governance--Foucauldian "bio-power: (Greenhlagh and Winckler 2005). They suggest that China's child education now aims to cultivate self-regulating individuals who will grow to be capable consumers and strong competitors in global labor market (Greenhalgh and Winckler 2005; Jing 2000). Extracted from the author's dissertation research project, this paper shares the similar interest in manifestation of neo-liberal subjectivities in Chinese children's education. It attempts to provide a better understanding of how such bio-political principles emerged from public media and how they were framed and sold to the young children's frontline educators/caregivers: parents. Focusing on China's first periodical parenting magazine and its issues published from theyear of 1980 to 2010, the author observes thta since the 1990s, Confucianism values and Communist ideology gradually faded away in China's mainstream media as the guide to educate and discipline young children's behavioral problems and emotional issues. Instead, parents are encouraged to use "emothional and behavioral management" skills to address, label, and handle what they found problematic with children's daily actifities. Such perceptions and conducts in parenting and early child development by and large align with the neo-liberal market mentalities such as entrepreneurship, innovation, flexibility, and self-discipline.