Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Words Matter: Textual Abuse of Childhood in the English-Speaking World, and the Role of Language in the Continuing Denial of Children’s Rights

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of The International Journal of Children's Rights

This article focuses upon ‘the textual abuse of childhood in the English-speaking world’ (Saunders and Goddard, 2001). It highlights the significant role that the choice of words used to refer to children, and their experiences, plays in both the continued denial of children’s rights, and the perpetuation of children’s lesser status in relation to adults. The evolution in language apparent in international children’s rights documents is compared and contrasted with language adopted in some media articles, and in both fictional and academic literature, provoking thought about children and their experiences. Attention is particularly drawn to evidence of textual abuse in literature that ostensibly advocates for greater acknowledgement of each child as a person with human rights and an entitlement to dignity and respect. The author calls for a more critical awareness of language as a powerful influence on people’s attitudes and behaviours. It is argued that children occupy an ambivalent place in Western society – at once cherished, nurtured, precious and endearing, and yet ‘always othered’ (Lahman, 2008), and often belittled, subjugated, and subjected to ‘normalised’ violence as punishment for being a child. Children’s advocates ought to not only consciously adopt respectful and empowering written and spoken language in reference to children, they ought also to draw others’ attention to the potentially negative impact of ill-chosen or thoughtlessly adopted language. Fictional and academic literature, that thoughtfully and powerfully adopts language and expresses ideas that promote children’s rights, is recognised for its explicit and/or subliminal positive influence on children, adults and our future society.

Affiliations: 1: Monash University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Dept. of Social Work, Victoria, Australia, bernadette.saunders@monash.edu

10.1163/15718182-02502010
/content/journals/10.1163/15718182-02502010
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
10
5
Loading
Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15718182-02502010
Loading

Data & Media loading...

1. Aaron J. (2015), “"Forever crooked: how everyday language reflects negative attitudes about the physically disabled"”: https://theconversation.com/forever-crooked-how-everyday-language-reflects-negative-attitudes-about-the-physically-disabled-38881.
2. Alderson P., (1992), “"The Rights of Children and Young People"” in The Welfare of Citizens: Developing New Social Rights , edited by Coote A, 153180, London: Rivers Oram Press.
3. Archard D. (2006), “"The moral and political status of children"”, Public Policy Research March–May: Vol 6–12.
4. Archard D., and Skivenes M. (2009a), “"Hearing the child"”, Child & Family Social Work Vol 14: 391399.
5. Archard D., and Skivenes M. (2009b), “"Balancing a Child’s Best Interests and a Child’s Views"”, International Journal of Children’s Rights Vol 2009: 121.
6. “"Baby’s parents on trial"” (1999), Herald Sun , 17 March.
7. Bailey R.W., (1990), “"English At Its Twighlight"” in The State of the Language , edited by Ricks C., and Michaels L., London: Faber and Faber.
8. Budge S.L.,, Kinton Rossman H.K., and Howard K. (2014), “"Coping and Psychological Distress Among Genderqueer Individuals: The Moderating Effect of Social Support"”, Journal of lgbt Issues in Counseling Vol 8 (1): 95117.
9. Burdekin B., (1994), “"Transforming the Convention into Law and Practice"”, in Children’s Rights: Issues for the Nineties , edited by Healey K., 812, Balmain: Spinney Press.
10. Butler-Sloss E. (1988), Report of the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Clevelend, 1987, uk: hmso.
11. Ennew J., (1994), “"Time for Children and Time for Adults"”, in Childhood Matters: Social Theory, Practice and Politics , edited by Qvortrup J.,, Bardy M.,, Sgritta G., and Winterberger H., 125143, Aldershot: Avebury.
12. Feldman J. (2016), “"Prince George Sees Bubbles, Reaches Peak Human Happiness"”, The Huffington Post Australia , 3 October.
13. Freeman M. (1983), The Rights and Wrongs of Children , London: Frances Pinter.
14. Freeman M. (1997), “"The Moral Status of Children"” in The Moral Status of Children: Essays on the Rights of the Child , 119. The Hague, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
15. Freeman M., (2000), “"The End of the Century of the Child"” in Current Legal Problems , edited by Freeman M.D.A., 505558, Oxford: Oxford Univerisity Press.
16. Goddard C., and Mudaly N. (2011), “"Crimes cloaked in euphemisms"”, The Australian , Vol 12.
17. Goddard C.,, De Bortoli L.,, Saunders B.J., and Tucci J. (2005), “"The Rapist’s Camouflage: Child Prostitution"”, Child Abuse Review Vol 14 (4): 275291.
18. Goddard C., and Saunders B.J. (2000), “"The Gender Neglect and Textual Abuse of Children in the Print Media"”, Child Abuse Review Vol 9 (1): 3748.
19. Granello D., and Gibbs T. (2016), “"The Power of Language and Labels: ‘The Mentally Ill’ Versus ‘People with Mental Illnesses’"”, Journal of Counselling & Development Vol 94: 3140.
20. Hartley J. (1982), Understanding News , London: Methuen.
21. Jarvis C. (2012), “"Fiction, empathy and lifelong learning"”, International Journal of Lifelong Education Vol 31 (6): 743758.
22. Jenks C. (1996), Childhood , London: Routledge.
23. Kurzwell Z. (1968), “"Korczak’s Edcuational Writings and the Image of the Child"”, Journal of Jewish Education Vol 38 (1): 1928.
24. Lahman M.K. (2008), “"Always Othered: Ethical Research with Children"”, Journal of Early Childhood Research Vol 6 (6): 281300.
25. McEwan I. (2014), The Children Act , New York: First Anchor Books.
26. Ndebele N. (2012), “"The English Language and Social Change in South Africa – reprint of 1986 keynote paper presented at the Jubilee Conference of the English Academy of South Africa, Johannesberg"”, English Academy Review Vol 29 (1): 4964.
27. Palmore E. (1999), Ageism Negative and Positive . New York: Springer.
28. Pierce C., and Allen G. (1975), “"Childism"”, Psychiatric Annals Vol 5 (7): 266270.
29. Saunders B.J. (2005),"“Because there’s a better way than hurting someone”: An exploratory study of the nature, effects and persistence of ‘physical punishment’ in childhood". Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University.
30. Saunders B.J., and Goddard C. (1998), “"Why Do We Condone the Physical Punishment of Children?"”, Children Australia Vol 23 (3): 2328.
31. Saunders B.J., and Goddard C. (1999), Why Do We Condone the Physical Assault of Children By Their Parents and Caregivers? Ringwood: Australian Childhood Foundation.
32. Saunders B.J. (2013), “"Ending the physical punishment of children in the English-speaking world: The impact of language, tradition and law"”, The International Journal of Children’s Rights Vol 21: 278304.
33. Saunders B.J., and Goddard C. (2010), Physical punishment in childhood: The rights of the child ., Chicester: John Wiley & Sons.
34. Saunders B.J., and Goddard C. (2001), “"The Textual Abuse of Childhood in the English-Speaking World: The Contribution of Language to the Denial of Children’s Rights"”, Childhood Vol 8 (4): 443462.
35. Scarre G., ed. (1989), Children, Parents and Politics . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
36. Thiong’O. N. (1984), “"The tension between national and imperialist culture"”, World Literature Written in English Vol 24 (1): 39.
37. Todres J., and Higinbotham S. (2013), “"A Person’s a Person: Children’s Rights in Children’s Literature"”, Columbia Human Rights Law Review Vol 45 (1): 156.
38. Wales K. (1996), Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English , Cambridge: Cambruidge University Press.
39. Westman J. (1991), “"Juvenile Ageism: Unrecognised Prejudice and Discrimination Against the Young"”, Child Psychiatry and Human Development Vol 21 (4): 237256.
40. Young-Bruehl E. (2012), Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children , New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
41. Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic).: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/cyafa2005252/.
42. Crimes Act 1900 (act): http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/ca190082/.
43. Declaration on the Rights of the Child: https://www.unicef.org/malaysia/1959-Declaration-of-the-Rights-of-the-Child.pdf.
44. Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child: http://www.un-documents.net/gdrc1924.htm.
45. The Children Act 1989 (uk): http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/contents.
46. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth): http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/fla1975114/.
47. Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.
48. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx.
http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/15718182-02502010
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15718182-02502010
2017-08-08
2018-06-20

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
    The International Journal of Children's Rights — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation