By A. Holzscheiter

Presents insights right into a energetic box of overseas human rights politics – the security of kids and their rights – by way of taking a look at the negotiations resulting in the 1989 UN conference at the Rights of the kid.

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Extra info for Children’s Rights in International Politics: The Transformative Power of Discourse

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In this epistemological quest, Power and Exclusion in IR Discourse Approaches 33 almost all approaches that are to do with the value of discourse for the understanding of political processes in the international world share the meta-theoretical common-ground of constructivism (Adler, 1997; Guzzini, 2000). Despite this common ground, however, the following discussion of discourse-based research in IR will adopt Adler’s classification of constructivist scholarship as either ‘modernist linguistic’, that is, largely adhering to a positivist research programme, or critical/ postmodernist (even ‘radical’ as Adler frequently labels this constructivist research agenda) (Adler, 2002: 97).

Applied to the particular case of the CRC, a discourse framework enriches conventional negotiation analysis by adding a methodology that enables the systematic study of discursive practices, various facets of power and exclusionary dimensions. Ultimately, it offers a richer and more balanced process analysis of social interaction. As shall be seen, in certain regards, this rich analysis supports counter-arguments against realist explanations that would, for instance, juxtapose Western states’ promotion of civil and political rights with Eastern countries’ emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights.

These various narratives of childhood will then be related to a number of international documents dealing with children – discussing international law with regards to the special situation and status of children will support the claim that childhood became institutionalized in international politics throughout the twentieth century. Finally, and most importantly, Part III of this book (Chapters 6 to 8) – the actual analysis of speaking practice during the negotiations of the CRC – will show how the various sub-discourses related to the semantic field of the child have figured in agents’ discursive practices in the Introduction 23 specific context of the drafting of the CRC.

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