Navigating the Identity Constructions-Lived Realities Nexus of International Child Protection: The Global-Local Production of Childhood, Child Rights and Child Domestic Labour in Haiti

Ciufo, Dustin
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

This dissertation explores how children navigate the relationship between their varied identities and livelihood experiences in what is termed the identity constructions-lived realities nexus. It does so within the field of international child protection where both Global and Local perspectives are responsible for producing the framing and experience of childhood, child rights and child domestic labour in Haiti. It is important to note that as childhood and child rights are socially-constructed concepts, they vary across time and space. However, the construction of these concepts does not transpire distinct from one another. Rather, a precise notion of these concepts emerges when examined at what is defined as the Global-Local interface. This is because an assessment of the international child protection literature reveals both a Global Childhood framework consisting of its Global Childhood model and Global Rights-Bearing Child approach and a Local Childhood framework made up of its Local Childhood model and its Local Rights-Bearing Child approach. Therefore, it is only through applying this scalar dynamic that the dissertation aims to traverse this scholarly divide and reveal what is in fact the dynamic interaction of these childhood frameworks responsible for the production and reproduction of Haitian childhood and child rights that shape Haitian child domestic labour. The results from this study show that such interactivity generates a spectrum of positive, negative and challenging experiences along which Haitian child domestic labourers’ identities are constructed and lived realities transpire. As a result, these children demonstrate both awareness of a need for more rights but also an acknowledgement, appreciation and desire to obtain rights through fulfilling their interdependent obligations as agents for helping to gain improvement for their families and their own future. It is in this spectrum of identities and lived realities that practitioners may find strategies that are better targeted to more positive outcomes. Therefore, this dissertation shows both the theoretical necessity to analyze how the interaction of competing childhood frameworks shape Haitian child domestic labourers’ identity constructions and the practical importance of consulting these children as they navigate the diverse impacts that advocates of each framework have upon their unique lived realities.

childhood, child rights, child domestic labour, children's livelihoods, international child protection