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Discovering child povertyThe creation of a policy agenda from 1800 to the present$
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Lucinda Platt

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9781861345837

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861345837.001.0001

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A fit occupation for children? Children and work

A fit occupation for children? Children and work

(p.31) Three A fit occupation for children? Children and work
Discovering child poverty

Lucinda Platt

Policy Press

This chapter argues that child labour legislation (along with education) is critical in establishing a relatively bounded childhood and a privileged status for children — even poor children — which is to make state support and intervention in other areas of child welfare increasingly hard to resist. It observes that the legislation is probably based less on the ‘fact’ of child employment than on campaigners' mobilisation of sentiment around children combined with arguments that operate within the prevailing discourse of liberal individualism and laissez-faire. It observes, nevertheless, that the introduction of legislation and the creation of a distinct child population both rendered the ultimate introduction of state educational provision almost inevitable and created a particular constituency for wider poverty research.

Keywords:   child labour legislation, state support, child welfare, child employment, liberal individualism, laissez-faire, poverty research

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