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13.05.2021 11:20 Alter: 163 days

Children's Rights and Protection through Decolonial and Childist Approaches

Call for Publications

Theme: Children's Rights and Protection through Decolonial and
Childist Approaches
Publication: Societies
Date: Special Issue
Deadline: 1.10.2021

This Special Issue of Societies will explore interconnected debates
regarding children’s rights and child protection to broaden
understandings of children’s experiences of marginalization and
empowerment in the world today, as well as orientations towards
sustainable, intergenerational coexistence and global futures. We
especially call for authors to contribute to this exploration using
decolonial and childist approaches.

The past decades saw the proliferation of publications that contest
children’s rights and policies and practices, which are often
understood in the narrow and instrumental implementation of the
framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
(UNCRC). Wall (2008) has argued that children will remain second
class citizens until the idea of human rights itself is rethought in
the light of childhood. Ansell (2015) called to move away from the
ritualistic celebration of children’s rights to instead understand
the complex ways in which diverse processes, policies, and
interventions serve to advance or harm children’s rights and
wellbeing through the lens of social justice. Hanson and Nieuwenhuys
(2013) advocate for “living rights”, arguing how children, families,
and communities make sense of rights not because of their exposure to
metropolitan rights discourse but as they struggle to make sense of
their daily existence. Abebe (2013) reconceptualizes how children’s
rights are interdependent with those of households and wider family
collectives and that a child’s “individual right” is a site where
familial obligations, aspirations, priorities, and futures are
enacted. These epistemological and political transformations evoked
by “interdependence”, “living rights” and “social justice” provoke
changes in the modern colonial matrix of power, knowledge and
practices linked to the human rights of children, childhood, and
societal futures. They also call for indigenizing and decolonizing
children’s rights and child protection practices through the childist
lens as well as rethinking them in ways that promote
intergenerational connections (Abebe and Biswas 2021).

This Special Issue of Societies will critically explore the interplay
between ideas of children’s rights and the practices of safeguarding
those rights by actors/institutions/stakeholders of childhood at
multiple scales and contexts. We conceptualize child protection
broadly to encompass child protection services, social networks,
laws, institutions, discourses, policies, and practices that govern
childhood, and children’s everyday lives and rights. Not only are
children’s wellbeing and protection inextricably linked to hegemonic
values and ideals of childhood, but also interpretations of
children’s rights and how they should be operationalized in
safeguarding children’s wellbeing. Accordingly, we raise the
following questions: How could “protection” be understood and
practiced from non-paternalistic standpoints? How are child
protection and children’s rights intertwined, conflated,
contradicted, and operationalized by families, communities, children,
states, civil society and international organizations? What are the
tensions and (dis)entanglements between the participation and
protection rights of children on the one hand, and on the other,
“living rights” that come into existence as children, families, and
communities envision and struggle to realize their interdependent
existence and futures? How can indigenous cultural norms, ideas and
practices linked to child-rearing be included in formal and
institutionalized practices of child protection? How can emic and
indigenous rights of children enhance children’s wellbeing? Can
protection be understood as a dimension of intergenerational
interdependence and social justice? Do contemporary notions of child
protection and obligation to be in school favor children’s
sociopolitical marginalization?

We invite interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary engagement with
children’s rights and protection, and the ways in which they are
linked to debates of intergenerational coexistence and futures, with
an emphasis on decolonial and childist approaches. Suggested themes
for consideration are:

- Non-Eurocentric understandings of children’s rights and protection
- Who protects children? Who secures children’s rights? In whose care
 are children’s best interests safeguarded? How?
- Child protection for marginalized and disadvantaged children
- NGOs and child protection
- Rights and protection of refugee and immigrant children
- (Working) children’s rights, social movements, and activism
- Protection as a dimension of intergenerational climate justice
- Child protection and young children’s rights
- Non-paternalistic perspectives on rights and protection
- Rights and global futures
- Indigenous perspectives on childcare and protection
- Protection, education and children’s political marginalization

Contributions have to be one of the three categories of papers
(article, conceptual paper or review) for the journal and address the
topic of the Special Issue.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering
and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here
to go to the submission form:

Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be
peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the
journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the
special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as
short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and
short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office
for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor
be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference
proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through
a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other
relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on
the Instructions for Authors page:

Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly
journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a
manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in
this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers
should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's
English editing service prior to publication or during author

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 October 2021.


- children’s rights
- child protection
- child development
- generation studies
- childhood studies
- ethics of care
- children’s migration
- decoloniality
- intergenerational relationships
- participatory action research
- future
- decoloniality
- childism
- interdependence
- sustainability
- intergenerational coexistence
- education
- children’s marginalization and empowerment

Guest Editors
Dr. Tatek Abebe
Dr. Tanu Biswas


Dr. Tatek Abebe
Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Trondheim, Norway

Dr. Tanu Biswas
Faculty of Cultural Studies
University of Bayreuth
Bayreuth, Germany

Journal website: