Well-Being As a Framework for Understanding ‘Childhoods in a Global World’: Issues in Undertaking Multinational Qualitative Research on Child Well-Being
Research on ‘the plurality of childhoods’ is a central concern of childhood sociology, providing a platform through which childhood sociologists have examined the variety of childhoods under conditions of globalisation. Recent developments in the field have used the framework of ‘well-being’ to provide an analytical framework to compare diverse childhoods in response to other, more powerful and influential indicators of development. Concepts of justice are central to many child well-being frameworks, for example the capability and child rights approaches.
The normativity of the concept of well-being, how children’s subjective understandings and experiences of well-being can be integrated into research on children’s well-being and the value of multi-national perspectives, remain significant questions within the field. The panel will explore these questions and how concepts of well-being relate to possibilities for justice for children. The panel will be guided by the following questions:
1. How can we understand and define child well-being? As a normative construct, subjective assessment, or as an open concept to be delineated through empirical research?
2. What contribution do local, trans-local, national and transnational factors play in constituting shared or different meanings and experiences of well-being?
3. What are the possibilities for comparative analysis of children’s well-being that take into account the diversity of lived experiences and the geo-political configurations, structures and cultural processes that delimit possibilities for well-being?
The proposed panel seeks to explore these issues, with a specific focus on the challenges involved in undertaking qualitative research on children’s well-being from a comparative multi-national perspective.