Philosophy and the Poverty of Children and their Families

In Nicolás Brando & Gottfried Schweiger (eds.), Philosophy and Child Poverty: Reflections on the Ethics and Politics of Poor Children and Their Families. Springer. pp. 1-15 (2019)

Abstract

Although the philosophical literature on both poverty and childhood is certainly increasing, the status of children living in poverty has been largely ignored as a philosophical subject. The condition of children and the justice-related issues that derive from it compel us to look more deeply into the sources and responsibilities of and towards poverty during childhood. We highlight four challenges raised by studying child poverty, and the mechanisms through which philosophical analysis may aid in addressing them. Philosophy can work as an important tool to conceptualise what child poverty is, assess the limitations of current research on the subject, normatively evaluate how to address this condition, and offer guidelines for how society, law and the polity ought to act in response to it. Child poverty must be looked at from what it is in itself, and how it intersects with other features of the child’s life which may exacerbate it. The role of the family is fundamental in any evaluation of what child poverty is, and how to tackle it. Understanding child poverty in the vacuum omits fundamental sources of it, and solutions to it. Other intersecting conditions such as the social and cultural ethos, citizenship status, gender or disability may play a fundamental role also. The second section provides an overview of the volume.

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