A Reconsideration of Child Labor from the Perspectives of Multiple Stakeholders in Mysore, India

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195175
Title:
A Reconsideration of Child Labor from the Perspectives of Multiple Stakeholders in Mysore, India
Author:
Wind, Steven
Issue Date:
2007
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Internationalist perspectives towards child labor have been adopted in India by both the national government and NGOs. These perspectives conceptualize childhood as a protected period of life lasting until age 18. Education and play, but not work, are considered appropriate activities for children. Although poverty has been acknowledged as a contributing factor, the reason children work has also commonly been framed as one of ignorant or unprincipled parents exploiting their children and squandering their future. The solution, according to anti-child labor discourse, is universal primary education.This dissertation problematizes such conceptions regarding childhood, education, and child labor. Drawing on fifteen months of fieldwork in Mysore, Karnataka, I examine community attitudes towards childhood and highlight incongruencies between internationalist and local characterizations. I compare community stakeholders' and government perspectives concerning education and children's work, focusing on household decision-making. I demonstrate that low-income parents want their children to obtain a good education, and are willing to expend limited economic resources to achieve that vision. Frequently, however, their goal is stymied by characteristics of the Indian education system or household crises that limit the ability to spend on education and create a need for additional income that a working child can provide. I explore how decisions regarding sending a child to work are negotiated, the perceived appropriateness of different types of work with regard to age and gender, and local ideas about formal and informal apprenticeship. I also consider the degree to which children are active agents in education and work-related decision-making.An understanding of parental decision-making requires exploration of the relationship between cultural, social, and economic capital and child labor. Research data revealed that low-income parents commonly lack the social connections and economic capital needed to convert a child's educational achievement into gainful employment. This caused some parents to view occupational training from a young age as a more pragmatic means of insuring a child's future.Finally, this dissertation provides insights into the commonly ignored relationship between alcohol abuse and child labor. Alcohol abuse often has serious economic, health, and social impact in low-income households that results in children having to work.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
child labor; India; childhood; children's rights; education
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Anthropology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Nichter, Mark
Committee Chair:
Nichter, Mark

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleA Reconsideration of Child Labor from the Perspectives of Multiple Stakeholders in Mysore, Indiaen_US
dc.creatorWind, Stevenen_US
dc.contributor.authorWind, Stevenen_US
dc.date.issued2007en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractInternationalist perspectives towards child labor have been adopted in India by both the national government and NGOs. These perspectives conceptualize childhood as a protected period of life lasting until age 18. Education and play, but not work, are considered appropriate activities for children. Although poverty has been acknowledged as a contributing factor, the reason children work has also commonly been framed as one of ignorant or unprincipled parents exploiting their children and squandering their future. The solution, according to anti-child labor discourse, is universal primary education.This dissertation problematizes such conceptions regarding childhood, education, and child labor. Drawing on fifteen months of fieldwork in Mysore, Karnataka, I examine community attitudes towards childhood and highlight incongruencies between internationalist and local characterizations. I compare community stakeholders' and government perspectives concerning education and children's work, focusing on household decision-making. I demonstrate that low-income parents want their children to obtain a good education, and are willing to expend limited economic resources to achieve that vision. Frequently, however, their goal is stymied by characteristics of the Indian education system or household crises that limit the ability to spend on education and create a need for additional income that a working child can provide. I explore how decisions regarding sending a child to work are negotiated, the perceived appropriateness of different types of work with regard to age and gender, and local ideas about formal and informal apprenticeship. I also consider the degree to which children are active agents in education and work-related decision-making.An understanding of parental decision-making requires exploration of the relationship between cultural, social, and economic capital and child labor. Research data revealed that low-income parents commonly lack the social connections and economic capital needed to convert a child's educational achievement into gainful employment. This caused some parents to view occupational training from a young age as a more pragmatic means of insuring a child's future.Finally, this dissertation provides insights into the commonly ignored relationship between alcohol abuse and child labor. Alcohol abuse often has serious economic, health, and social impact in low-income households that results in children having to work.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectchild laboren_US
dc.subjectIndiaen_US
dc.subjectchildhooden_US
dc.subjectchildren's rightsen_US
dc.subjecteducationen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorNichter, Marken_US
dc.contributor.chairNichter, Marken_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNichter, Mimien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBaro, Mamadouen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2163en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659747356en_US
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