Child Poverty, Impoverished Parenting, and Normative Childhood: Some Words of Caution

  • Douglas William Hanes
Part of the Philosophy and Poverty book series (PPOV, volume 1)


This chapter uses examples of the use of child poverty for racist, colonial, and sexist violence to highlight the dangers of our efforts to address child poverty. Using international appeals for aid, transnational adoption, and the seizure of Black children in the US and Aboriginal children in Canada, it becomes evident that understandings of child poverty assume conceptions of normative childhoods and parenting. These conceptions are grounded in modern Western understandings of children as innocent and in need of special protection, and of childhood as merely a preparatory stage for adulthood. Many efforts to address child poverty fail to see these conceptions as historically and culturally specific, and instead treat them as timeless and universal. This justifies the imposition of this framework on the poor, including through the violent disruption of families and communities through the dispossession of their children. Finally, this chapter offers brief comments on what an approach to child poverty that does not universalize the Western, Global North’s normative models of childhood and parenting would look like.


Neontocracy First nations Child welfare Transnational adoption Charitable giving Child labor Education Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas William Hanes
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Public HealthStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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