- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 22 April 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0077
- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 22 April 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0077
Globalization is generally defined as a set of processes and contexts emerging out of the nexus of capitalism, technology, and social change. More specifically, while globalization can be understood as having begun well before the industrial era, globalization tends to be characterized as salient particularly from the 1970s onward. Typified by growing corporate economic power eclipsing that of the nation-state, globalization is often linked in analysis to rising ideologies and practices of neoliberalism. For its part, neoliberalism emphasizes the efforts of the individual, seeks to minimize the role of government, and is particularly critical of efforts to ameliorate systemic social inequalities. The implications for children and childhood have been profound: definitions of children and childhood, enshrined most clearly in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, now circulate globally. Powerful ideas about proper childhood and child rights are at work, especially in the context of development initiatives and the work of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as UNICEF. Children themselves are also in global circulation through migration, displacement, trafficking, and transnational adoption. As media and technologies from cell phones to television have proliferated, children have become objects and agents of a host of images, apps, and practices that are at once geographically and culturally specific and unified across time and space. In relation to children and childhood, thinking about globalization has tended to focus on education, issues of exploitation (particularly with regard to sex work, trafficking, and war), citizenship/rights, and, to some degree, media and technology. This review focuses on works that explicitly are framed around questions of globalization; in addition, because of the importance of media to discussions of globalization, there is attention paid to film and television by or about children and childhood as well.
Because the question of children and globalization tends to be approached from particular issues-based angles, general overviews are few. While not framed explicitly in terms of globalization, the classic and groundbreaking essay Stephens 1995 is a key starting point, addressing the range of questions that define the primary ways in which children figure in globalization processes and concerns. Essays in the UNICEF report (Cornia 2001) provide a wealth of data and outline specific opportunities and areas of concern relevant to that organization. Aitken 2001 provides a critically engaged and theoretically sophisticated analysis of the construction of childhood in the context of globalization. Using a case-study approach, Chin 2004 explores a range of specific dilemmas faced by children when definitions, legal systems, and global processes come together. One of a very few truly comparative studies of children themselves within the frame of globalization, Katz 2004 shows how urban New York City kids and rural Sudanese kids face sometimes similar, and sometimes divergent, pressures as the result of globalization’s changing demands. In an unusual move, Anoop 2003 focuses on forms of white masculinity among youth to show globalization at work in the north of England. Montgomery, et al. 2003 provides an excellent and wide-ranging introduction to key issues, and Wells 2009 is also an excellent introductory text particularly for undergraduates.
Aitken, Stuart C. “Global Crises of Childhood: Rights, Justice and the Unchildlike Child.” Area 33.2 (June 1, 2001): 119–127.
Proposes the idea that the contemporary crisis of childhood is as much about conceptual definitions as it is about actual conditions. Increasing visibility of children who are engaged in “unchildlike” pursuits—labor or sex work for example—provokes this crisis. Argues that globalization itself demands that both research agendas and theories of children must be reimagined in order to address the real-world problems that exist.
Chin, Elizabeth. “Children out of Bounds in Globalising Times.” Journal of Postcolonial Studies 6.3 (2004): 301–325.
Examines how discourses of childhood are mobilized in the context of globalization, where states attempt to define individual children as either falling within or outside childhood itself. Case studies include child household workers in Haiti; child trafficking to the United States; and unaccompanied minor refugees. Together, they demonstrate a range of implications for being “out of bounds” culturally, politically, or legally.
Cornia, Andrea, ed. Harnessing Globalisation for Children: A Report to UNICEF. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2001.
A group of studies assessing basic indicators of child well-being in the context of globalization. Addresses UNICEF priorities of child and maternal health, nutrition, education, security, and economic stability. Here globalization is defined primarily as economic technological migration. Provides recommendations for policy and programs into the future. Provides broad and deep data on benchmarks and change throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
Katz, Cindi. Growing Up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children’s Everyday Lives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
Unique for providing in-depth, ethnographic accounts of the impact of changing economic and social circumstances in a major urban area (New York City) and a developing one (rural Sudan). Comparative analysis shows how globalization has impacts that are highly specific and highlights the unexpected ways in which people and places are subject to similar pressures and dilemmas.
Montgomery, Heather, Rachel Burr, and Martin Woodhead, eds. Changing Childhoods: Local and Global. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2003.
Multidisciplinary and wide-ranging, addresses many key issues related to globalization including soldiering, migration, negotiation of identity. Poverty, health status, and violence are a strong focus. An excellent overall introduction particularly for students or those unfamiliar with the topic.
Nayak, Anoop. Race, Place and Globalization: Youth Cultures in a Changing World. New York: Berg, 2003.
Unusual for placing whiteness and youth identity in the context of globalization, immigration, and social change. Ethnographically examines youth cultures in the northeast of England, particularly “real Georgies,” “charvers,” “wiggas,” and various other forms of ethnic identity among white working-class youth. Uses social geography and cultural analysis to investigate masculinity, racism and anti-racism, and locality. Accessibly written.
Stephens, Sharon. “Children and the Politics of Culture in ‘Late Capitalism.’” In Children and the Politics of Culture. Edited by Sharon Stephens, 3–48. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.
This groundbreaking essay set the agenda for children and childhood studies overall and in particular charted early on the set of concerns that have emerged as central to the investigation of children and globalization. With an emphasis on ethnography, essays in Durham 2008, cited in Anthologies.
Wells, Karen. Childhood in a Global Perspective. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2009.
Covers a broad range of relevant issues and geographic areas with particular emphasis on children’s rights and the work of humanitarian organizations and NGOs. Accessibly written and an excellent introductory resource for undergraduates.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Aboriginal Childhoods
- Addams, Jane
- ADHD, Sociological Perspectives on
- Adolescence and Youth
- Adolescent Consent to Medical Treatment
- Adoption and Fostering
- Adoption and Fostering, History of Cross-Country
- Advertising and Marketing, Psychological Approaches to
- Advertising and Marketing, Sociocultural Approaches to
- African American Children and Childhood
- After-school Hours and Activities
- Animals, Children and
- Animations, Comic Books, and Manga
- Anthropology of Childhood
- Archaeology of Childhood
- Ariès, Philippe
- Attachment in Children and Adolescents
- Australia, History of Adoption and Fostering in
- Autism, Medical Model Perspectives on
- Best Interest of the Child
- Bioarchaeology of Childhood
- Body, Children and the
- Body Image
- Boy Scouts/Girl Guides
- Bronfenbrenner, Urie
- Bruner, Jerome
- Buddhist Views of Childhood
- Byzantine Childhoods
- Child Beauty Pageants
- Child Homelessness
- Child Protection
- Childcare Manuals
- Childhood and Borders
- Childhood as Discourse
- Children's Humor
- Children's Views of Childhood
- China, Japan, and Korea
- Civil Rights Movement and Desegregation
- Classical World, Children in the
- Clothes and Costume, Children's
- Colonization and Nationalism
- Common World Childhoods
- Competitiveness, Children and
- Congenital Disabilities
- Constructivist Approaches to Childhood
- Consumer Culture, Children and
- Consumption, Child and Teen
- Critical Approaches to Children’s Work and the Concept of ...
- Discipline and Punishment
- Disney, Walt
- Divorce And Custody
- Domestic Violence
- Drawings, Children's
- Early Childhood
- Eating disorders and obesity
- Environment, Children and the
- Ethics in Research with Children
- Evolutionary Studies of Childhood
- Female Genital Cutting
- Feral and "Wild" Children
- Fetuses and Embryos
- Films about Children
- Foundlings and Abandoned Children
- Freud, Anna
- Freud, Sigmund
- Friends and Peers: Psychological Perspectives
- Froebel, Friedrich
- Gay and Lesbian Parents
- Gender and Childhood
- Geographies, Children's
- Hall, G. Stanley
- Happiness in Children
- Hindu Views of Childhood and Child Rearing
- Hispanic Childhoods (U.S.)
- Historical Approaches to Child Witches
- History of Adoption and Fostering in Canada
- History of Childhood in America
- History of Childhood in Canada
- Images of Childhood, Adulthood, and Old Age in Children’s ...
- Infancy and Ethnography
- Infant Mortality in a Global Context
- Innocence and Childhood
- Institutional Care
- Islamic Views of Childhood
- Juvenile Detention in the US
- Labor, Child
- Latin America
- Learning, Language
- Learning to Write
- Legends, Contemporary
- Literary Representations of Childhood
- Literature, Children's
- Magazines for Teenagers
- Maltreatment, Child
- Material Cultures of Western Childhoods
- Media Culture, Children's
- Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Childhoods
- Middle Childhood
- Middle East
- Multi-culturalism and Education
- Music and Babies
- Native American and Aboriginal Canadian Childhood
- New Reproductive Technologies and Assisted Conception
- Nursery Rhymes
- Organizations, Nongovernmental
- Parental Gender Preferences, The Social Construction of
- Pediatrics, History of
- Peer Culture
- Peter Pan
- Piaget, Jean
- Politics, Children and
- Postcolonial Childhoods
- Poverty, Rights, and Well-being, Child
- Prostitution and Pornography, Child
- Queer Theory and Childhood
- Race and Ethnicity
- Racism, Children and
- Readers, Children as
- Refugee and Displaced Children
- Rights, Children’s
- Risk and Resilience
- School Shootings
- Sex Education in the United States
- Social and Cultural Capital of Childhood
- Social Movements, Children's
- Social Policy, Children and
- Socialization and Child Rearing
- Sociology of Childhood
- South African Birth to Twenty Project
- South Asia
- Special Education
- Spock, Benjamin
- Sports and Organized Games
- Street Children
- Sure Start
- Teenage Fathers
- Teenage Pregnancy
- The Bible and Children
- Theories, Pedagogic
- Twins and Multiple Births
- United Kingdom, History of Adoption and Fostering in the
- United States, Schooling in the
- Value of Children
- Views of Childhood, Jewish and Christian
- Violence, Children and
- Visual Representations of Childhood
- Voice, Participation, and Agency
- Vygotsky, Lev and His Cultural-historical Approach to Deve...
- Welfare Law in the United States, Child
- Well-Being, Child
- Western Europe and Scandinavia
- Witchcraft in the Contemporary World, Children and
- Work and Apprenticeship, Children's
- Young Carers
- Young Lives