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Child Vulnerability and Vulnerable Subjectivity

Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives

  • Book
  • Aug 2024


  • Discusses how vulnerability develops within subjects in relationships, is created, and empowered
  • Contributes to measuring child vulnerability in a cross-country, comparative perspective
  • Analyses the ethical considerations of involving children with trauma in researching sensitive topics

Part of the book series: Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research (CHIR, volume 27)

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About this book

This book explores child vulnerability in various contexts from a cross-country, comparative perspective. It shows how vulnerability in childhood develops within subjects in relationships with other people (other children, parents, specialists, such as teachers, social workers, and judges), how it is created by welfare, health care, education, and justice systems, and is empowered by multiple crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, wars and natural disasters. The authors hope to enhance dialogue between childhood studies and children’s rights studies through these discussions. The role of children’s agency and autonomy, including their right to participate in decision-making processes related to their own life, has a special emphasis in this book. Importantly, the book discusses ethical considerations and challenges connected to the participation of vulnerable children in research. It also adds insights into domain-based child vulnerability, particularly through participatory action research with extremely vulnerable children with traumatic pasts in Estonian substitute care and Ukrainian children with refugee status in Estonia. The book thereby provides deep insights into the ways to increase child well-being by decreasing vulnerabilities and building resilience. It combines approaches from psychology, sociology, law, educational sciences, social work, and media studies, and is an important resource for academics as well as practitioners and policy-makers working on children's well-being.


  • trauma-informed approach
  • Child Vulnerability-Resilience Index (ICVRI)
  • child agency and rights
  • ethics of involving children with trauma in research
  • perceptions of children
  • family complexity and child vulnerability
  • Russia invasion to Ukraine
  • Estonia
  • cross-country comparative perspective
  • child vulnerability in digital world
  • building resilience in children by research
  • child vulnerability in education
  • child vulnerability in legal system
  • child vulnerability in substitute care
  • Ukrainian refugee children in Estonia
  • childhood trauma-awareness

Editors and Affiliations

  • Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

    Dagmar Kutsar, Mai Beilmann

  • Institution of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

    Oliver Nahkur

About the editors

Dagmar Kutsar, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Social Policy at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Her research interests are in family, childhood and welfare research and policies. She has been a partner in several international research projects, such as EU 6FP PROFIT, IPROSEC, NoE EQUALSOC, EU FP7 FLOWS, and others. She has been a member of the Standing Committee of Social Sciences of the European Science Foundation, a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the National Associations Council of the European Sociological Association. She was an Expert on the EU 7FP Youth Social Inclusion Cluster at the European Commission, a member of the Advisory Group of the Widening Programme at the EU Horizon 2020 and an Advisory Group member of the UNICEF Report Card Nr16. Her recent co-edited books in English include Internationalisation of Social Sciences in Central and Eastern Europe. The ‘Catching Up’ – A Myth or a Strategy?’ (Routledge, 2010) and Local Welfare Policymaking in European Cities (Springer, 2015). She has guest-edited a special issue of the Population Review (Special Collection No. 8) in 2021.


Mai Beilmann, PhD, is Associate Professor of Empirical Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. She has worked on various EU projects and the European Social Survey 2021, related to children's well-being, including youth skills, child vulnerability, urban policy innovations, migration challenges, active citizenship construction of European youth, and so on. She has publications in international peer-reviewed journals and in Estonian publications, including the Journal of Applied Youth Studies, Journal of Media Literacy Education, Journal of Social Science Education and has presented at conferences such as ISPCAN (International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect).


Oliver Nahkur, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. Oliver does research in quality of life studies, social indicators research, mental health and well-being, interpersonal violence and health politics and policy. He publishes regularly in peer-reviewed edited volumes as well as international journals on subjective well-being, impacts of migration on children's well-being, children's life satisfaction, and related topics. He is a member of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Child Vulnerability and Vulnerable Subjectivity

  • Book Subtitle: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives

  • Editors: Dagmar Kutsar, Mai Beilmann, Oliver Nahkur

  • Series Title: Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Medicine, Medicine (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-61332-6Due: 27 August 2024

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-61335-7Due: 27 August 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-61333-3Due: 27 August 2024

  • Series ISSN: 1879-5196

  • Series E-ISSN: 1879-520X

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 282

  • Number of Illustrations: 17 illustrations in colour

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