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Working Children in Europe: A Socio-Legal Approach to the Regulation of Child Work

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image of European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance

Since the beginning of the 2008 economic crisis, reports of child work across Europe have increased. This article looks into the European Union (EU) legal framework that applies to children who work, and offers a socio-legal analysis of child work regulation more generally. In so doing, it considers the role of a range of factors relevant to the regulation of child work, including children’s rights, cultural relativism, social constructions of childhood, empirical evidence of the benefits and harm of child work, and the different contexts in which children are found working. Crucially, the article advances a justification for retaining a restrictive approach in relation to child work in the European context on the basis of legal, social, economic and cultural factors.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Law, Sussex Law School, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex,


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