Nico Brando (QUB) "What (if anything) is wrong with child labour?"
Dr Nicolás Brando is a Newton International Fellow at the Centre for Children’s Rights, QUB.
Dr. Brando’s research project, Childhood at the Margins: A Normative Analysis of Children’s Status as Right Holders, aims to explore the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Particularly, it looks at how three elemental principles of the Convention have been defined and interpreted in the theoretical literature on children’s rights: the non-discrimination principle, the evolving capacities principle, and the best interests’ principle.
Nicolás is a Colombian philosopher, working on ethics, moral and political philosophy. His research studies the treatment of vulnerable and marginalised populations in liberal societies, with a particular focus on issues of discrimination and the protection of rights of children.
This paper aims to test our intuitions regarding what we think is morally wrong about child labour. It critically analyses how working children are conceptualised in international law, and how normative philosophy has failed to appropriately address the morality of child work. It looks at the standard position in the legal and philosophical literature (the abolitionist position), it presents the abolitionists’ three main arguments in favour abolishing child labour (namely, vulnerability to harm, to fail-to-benefit, and to exploitation), and argues that these rely on an erroneous understanding of the concept of ‘vulnerability’, and on false equivalences between work, harm and exploitation, failing to account for the sundry reality of child workers, their agency, and their self-regard. The paper claims that a more comprehensive conceptualisation of the sources of vulnerability, and how they may threaten children, requires shifting our understanding of where the ‘wrongness’ lies; namely, in the exploitation and harm, rather than on work itself. What is required is, thus, to protect children’s rights as children and as workers, rather than restricting their freedom to work.
Contact Dr Suzanne Whitten, HAPP firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the seminar.
|Dr Suzanne Whitten