The proposed project, CONSENT - EEA-RO-NO-2018-0586, will examine empirically to what extent the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is considered to be relevant in democratic assemblies and legal regulations, if it corresponds to the nature of trust people have in child protection services, and if it can be traced through professional practices.
This project asks three main questions:
Q1. How successfully is the child protected according to the rights of the child? By answering this question, the project will assess whether the CRC, in the one end, is embedded in the democratic rule of law, or, in the other end of the continuum, whether the rights and norms of the CRC constitute a mere lofty promise that fail to have any meaning to its citizens once we shed light on it. This question will be structured by three components:
(1) What is the level of protection according to laws, regulations and policies? What operative principles of child protection are detectable? Do these principles abide by the self-imposed democratic duty to respect, enforce and continuously implement the rights of the child?
(2) What are the views on the child rights and protection among legislators, practitioners and the general public? To what extent are these views shaped by the ethnicity, migrant status, gender, and wealth of children and their families?
(3) What are the discrepancies between operative principles and views on CPS?
Q2. What are the determinants of the views on child rights and on child protection? What are the roles played by social trust, institutional trust and nationalism in each of the two societies?
Q3. What are the effects of child protection crises on democratic culture? What are the moderating factors (ex. social media, level of social trust, level of corruption)?
These key questions will be answered by studying key challenges posed by (1) migration, (2) diaspora and mobility, (3) disadvantaged groups, and (4) minorities – Roma and Sami.
CONSENT is pioneering in its empirical and critical ambition to tease out and explain the decisive factors and mechanisms that impede or promote cosmopolitan citizenship among children. The project will employ a complex research methodology, in accordance with the multifaceted nature of the topic under study: it will have a mixed method and mixed data design that combines advanced quantitative survey analyses, with interview-data, vignette studies and document data. Thus, this project will generate new knowledge about how successful child protection is sought across two presumably vastly different nation-states that are supposed to govern through equal basic principles.
The project infrastructure will be relevant for other EEA calls, and the project group will actively expand the project so to seek out more data to do comparative research with colleagues across Europe.
CONSENT will not only provide insights into the conditions of cosmopolitan citizenship, but it will have impact beyond the field of child protection services moving into general theories of the welfare state, the common good and public interests.