The Youngest Citizens traces the historical evolution of children’s rights in Latin America before turning its focus to the dramatic shift in discourse and policy experienced by the continent in the last 20 years.
This book explores the new global regime on childhood, child advocates’ sustained efforts to influence domestic policy, the ongoing challenges they face, and the implications for democracy and citizenship in Latin America. Risley addresses the disconnect between rights granted and the realities that young people face through in-depth case studies of child advocacy and legislation to prove that rights in theory do not suffice; the status of children must be improved in practice. Key issues are discussed, such as child labor in Bolivia and Brazil, child soldiers in Colombia, child sexual exploitation in Costa Rica and Mexico, and unaccompanied child migrants detained at the United States’ southern border. The Youngest Citizens takes the cautiously optimistic view that children themselves are increasingly being recognized as rights-bearing subjects and included in the decisions affecting them.
This book is an essential text for both undergraduate and graduate students interested in Latin American studies, with a focus on themes surrounding childhood and the family, human rights, and migration.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The Rights and Well-Being of Children in Latin America
Chapter Two: Children’s Rights are Human Rights: The Consolidation of a Global Childhood Regime
Chapter Three: The Youngest Citizens: Children’s Rights in Argentina
Chapter Four: The Youngest Citizens: Children’s Rights in Uruguay
Chapter Five: The Youngest Laborers: Child Labor and Child Poverty in Latin America
Chapter Six: The Youngest Laborers: Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Soldiering in Latin America
Chapter Seven: The Youngest Migrants: Children and Teens Seeking Entry Into the United States
Chapter Eight: Conclusion
Amy Risley is Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College. A specialist in Latin American and comparative politics, she has conducted extensive research on human rights, civil society, and social movements in Latin American democracies. Publications include Civil Society Organizations, Advocacy, and Policy Making in Latin American Democracies (2015).
"In just over a hundred pages, [Amy Risley] manages to summarize key currents in the general evolution of normative approaches to children and their place in South and Central American society, and to contextualize these within detailed accounts of particular topics and localities. An accessible and engaged description of key children’s rights issues and their relevance to Latin America, Risley’s The Youngest Children deserves attention by teachers, journalists and other interested professionals concerned with the circumstances of some of the most vulnerable members of Latin American societies.
The Youngest Citizens makes crystal clear, the contradictions and challenges remain pressing and urgent, for the still fragile democracies in Latin America and for all their citizens, old and young."
A Review by Jacqueline Bhabha, ReVista, Harvard University, USA