Childhood Journal Cover

Child Rights Governance
Future Special Issue of Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research

Guest Editors
Anna Holszcheiter, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Jonathan Josefsson, Department of Child Studies, Linköping University, Sweden
Bengt Sandin, Department of Child Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

In this special issue of Childhood we would like to explore the origins, logics, and effects of child rights governance. Almost three decades after the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the human rights of children have gained hegemonic status in policy making and influenced a wide range of political and social practices as well as knowledge production on children and childhood. Children’s rights have become an instrument, not only to protect and emancipate children from oppression, but also to govern, regulate and control children and define appropriate types of childhoods.

With this in mind, we would like to take a critical view of how children’s rights are used and have been integrated into national and global political systems of governance over children and childhood. From a state-centric perspective, the concept of governance can be associated with the analysis of state power and its ability to interact with and steer a constantly widening array of non-state actors in the exercise of political authority and the crafting and implementation of policies. Alternative notions of governance, though, embrace a horizontal perspective on politics in which political and social authority is dispersed among different types of actors and political decisions emerge from the interaction between states, international agencies, civil society organizations and social networks. Governance in modern society is tainted with a number of tensions that arise as a result of this reconfiguration of the exercise of systems of governing.

Aims and Scope

In this issue, we seek contributions that study forms and processes of child rights governance. With child rights governance we refer to how children’s rights, and the principles and institutions associated with the idea of children’s rights, through different historical legacies and contemporary political challenges increasingly have become part of the mechanism, systems and instruments that are commonly associated with the notion of governance.

We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions that adopt historical perspectives and scrutinize the practical implications of the “hegemonic” status of the CRC and competing children’s rights concepts as main points of reference in national and international policy-making. The Special Issue will therefore also incorporate analyses of child rights governance in regions of the world where the CRC is a contested legal framework or adopted in ways that considerably stretch the meanings of children’s rights. Consequently, we are interested in how dominant ideas and legal and political frameworks associated with children’s rights also forge the identity of children as subjects and objects of governance and how the idea that children are rights-holders becomes institutionalized and instrumentalised in the governance of childhood.

Possible themes for papers include, but are not limited to: regimes of children’s rights in a comparative perspective; international politics of children’s rights before and after 1989; new forms of governance of national children’s right institutions/children’s ombudspersons; children’s rights in NGO policies and international relations; children’s rights in the EU’s external policy; governance of childhood and children’s representation through parents and third parties; the nature and limits of State responsibility for children; governance and the politics of apology; children’s rights and the management of migration; post-colonial theory and the governance of children’s rights; governance of family policy and children’s rights in an era of authoritarianism.


  • Submission of 300 word abstract in English by 15 January 2018.
  • Papers by invitation only by 1 July 2018 (detailed information about paper submissions will be sent with the invitation).
  • Abstracts should be sent electronically to the Managing Editor, Karin Ekberg:
  • Please include authors(s) name(s), and affiliation(s) and all relevant contact information.
  • Anticipated publication date for the Special Issue: August 2019

For enquiries, contact:

Anna Holszcheiter:
Jonathan Josefsson:
Bengt Sandin:

CFP – Special Issue of Childhood: Child Rights Governance