, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 309–316

A Child's Best Interests: A Commentary on "Jurisprudential and Ethical Perspectives on ‘The Best Interests of Children’" by Keith Walker

  • Stephen J. Smith

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007513431887

Cite this article as:
Smith, S.J. Interchange (1998) 29: 309. doi:10.1023/A:1007513431887


There is an important distinction to be drawn between using legal precedent and moral injunction to define what is best for children in general and acting in a child's best interests on the basis of one's lived experience with particular children in particular times and places. More than a contrast between general principles and specific cases, the distinction is between a mediational interest in the problems that arise in educating other people's children and an embodied, ethical responsiveness on the part of prudent, caring, loving adults to the perceived vulnerabilities of children within their care. It is a pedagogic difference between administrative clear-headedness and embodied virtue.

advocacy pedagogy relationality ethics 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityCanada

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