Children’s Rights in Fragile Contexts: Exploring Theoretical and Methodological Research Challenges

by | Feb 20, 2015

Children’s Rights in Fragile Contexts: Exploring Theoretical and Methodological Research Challenges
A symposium for PhD students and early-career researchers

Conference Overview

The year 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified international treaty in the world. Children’s rights, however, remain a contested and insecure reality. Various phenomena, including armed conflict, post-conflict transitions, natural disasters, migration, and internal displacement create “fragile” situations, in which legal and social protection for children is inexistent, weak, or ineffective. In some instances, fragile contexts render children’s rights ambiguous, untenable, or precarious. In others, there is a disjuncture between de jure and de facto rights provisions. In others still, a children’s rights framework may clash or cause tensions with local conceptions of childhood. Further research and discussion on children’s rights is thus a timely, but also complicated and multifaceted endeavour.

This symposium aims to bring together PhD students and early-career researchers from a range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, law, sociology, anthropology, development studies, socio-legal studies, criminology and economics. Our objective is to establish a network of young scholars working on issues related to children’s rights with a view to providing constructive feedback on each other’s research. During the symposium, we will explore the theoretical and methodological challenges arising when conducting research on children’s rights in various fragile contexts. The symposium will include two thematic sessions centred on children’s rights in conflict and post-conflict and on children’s rights in mobility and migration. The two sessions will be followed by an informal round table discussion that will hopefully result in the establishment of a network and in ideas for collaboration on future initiatives.

Our aim is to provide a supportive and informal setting in which PhD students and early-career researchers at any stage of their research will be able to receive constructive feedback from other
researchers working in the field. Presentations can focus on early research questions and puzzles, research design, substantive topics and findings, methodological issues, fieldwork planning and challenges, ethics, and any other issues relating to children’s rights in fragile contexts.

How to Participate


All students, practitioners, researchers, and academics interested in presenting at the symposium are invited to submit a contribution by Friday, 13th March at 17.00 (UK time) by completing the registration form available online at: Submissions should include a title, a brief abstract of the presentation (max. 300 words), and a short explanation of aspects on which feedback would be appreciated. All abstracts and points for feedback will be circulated among the participants prior to the symposium. To allow time for constructive questions and feedback, presentations will be limited to 10-15 minutes each, and should focus on an area on which the presenter would like to receive advice or feedback.


Undergraduate and graduate students interested in the topic, as well as senior academics, are also welcome to attend to pose questions and give feedback. All interested guests are invited to complete the registration form available online at:, leaving the spaces for title, abstract and feedback blank.

There is no cost for attendance, and participants will be provided with lunch and refreshments during the workshop. A limited contribution to travel expenses is also available for presenters who can demonstrate a need for it. Applications for financial support should be sent via email at

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at: For more information please visit:

Conference Partners

This symposium is organised by the Oxford Children’s Rights Network with the kind support of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, and is generously sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Centre of Oxford.




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