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Economic Hardship: an Issue for Children's Agency at Home, at School and at the Social Welfare Office
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2006 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces a research project aiming at understanding children’s experiences of living in economic hardship in Sweden and presents some initial empirical results. The newly started project is focusing on children’s own perspective, their experiences in everyday life in various social contexts, and their financial and social strategies in interaction with other children, their parents and professionals at school and in the social welfare agencies. What does economic hardship mean to children in terms of material conditions, social relations, school work, identity or wellbeing? Which scope of agency do children see and how do they use it? How do the legal framework and the practices at school and at social welfare agencies construct the child (of various age and gender), the mother and the father in this kind of cases? Are children seen as actors, victims, consumers or objects of their parents’ responsibility as providers? Are children allowed a scope of action in the financial decision making processes in their family and / or in formal processes of financial support? If so, what kind of agency and what happens when they participate? Which kind of interpretative framework concerning children’s actions is used by the adults involved in the interaction with the children? The empirical work is conducted in two different municipalities in Sweden and will include analysis of interviews and a survey with children from three age categories (6-7, 11-12, 15-16), their parents (single as well as two parent families), school staff and social welfare officers, documents on local policies and court records. The project draws on childhood sociology, and research on gender, organization and professions. This paper will focus the legal processes concerning social welfare to families with children; children’s visibility in the process and their eventual scope of agency. The project is ending 2008.

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Social Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-26603OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-26603DiVA: diva2:54377
Cost A19 - Children's Welfare 16-18/6 2006, Roskilde, Danmark

Paper presented at ISA World Congress, Durban South Africa June-July, 2006

Available from: 2007-02-25 Created: 2007-02-25 Last updated: 2013-03-22Bibliographically approved

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