Theorising ‘harm’ in relation to children’s work

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This chapter introduces the concept of ‘harm’ that is foundational to understanding what has been termed the ‘rights and wrongs of children’s work’. The concept remains contested, which motivates the chapter’s re-examination of the formal, institutional understanding of harm, such as that put forward by the ILO. Drawing from a review of how harm is theorized in various academic disciplines, the chapter points towards the need for a holistic approach to harm across academic research and policy. Such an approach must incorporate grounded and more subjective dimensions of harm, with wellbeing as a central focus. That said, children’s work and any associated harm is notoriously difficult to identify, assess and understand.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren’s Work in African Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationThe Harmful and the Harmless
EditorsJ. Sumberg, R. Sabates-Wheeler
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781529226065, 9781529226072
ISBN (Print)9781529226058
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023


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