About this workshop:
The workshop aims especially to combine different disciplinary perspectives and to explore how they can contribute to a better understanding of the normative foundations that are needed to improve health during childhood in general and especially for disadvantaged children.
We want to explore in particular four areas of concern:
(1) The intersection of health and poverty during childhood and its effects on the future life course. It is well-studied that health is to a large part socially determined and that the socio-economic position influences heavily the health status of both children and adults. Childhood poverty translates into health problems during childhood as well as in later life. This poses a wide range of ethical and justice-related problems that are still underexplored. For example the conviction that health is to large part a life-style choice is highly problematic for children and also for adults given the knowledge about the pathways from childhood to adult health. Theories that want to clarify what we owe each other as a matter of justice have to consider this knowledge more carefully.
(2) Conceptualizations of health of children, especially also the interrelation of such concepts as mental health and (subjective) well-being. There is still no consensus how health should be defined and what concepts of it are better fit to guide policy and action. It has also been seldom questioned if health can or should be differently defined for adults and children. Furthermore most defini6tions of health focus still on physical health while mental and emotional health is still widely undervalued. Childhood is a critical phase both for physical and mental health and the development for such crucial features as self-confidence and self-trust.
(3) The distribution and application of responsibilities to ensure health during childhood. If health is not an innate feature of children but to a large extent shaped by the environment, the social position and the actions of other persons and institutions, than this implies that different agents can and should be distinguished that share a certain amount of responsibility in respect to children’s health. In most discourses two agents are highlighted, namely the parents and the state and its health care institutions. But besides them other important agents are involved, for example the food industry or pharmaceutical companies.
(4) The access to health as a matter of children’s rights. Children’s rights and also the right of health have been widely discussed, in particular in the context of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. How can such a right be justified and is there a relation between children’s rights and justice for children in that respect? Does the framework of (universal) children’s rights offer a fit framework to guide health policies aimed at children? Also, the relationship between children’s rights to health and parental rights has to be discussed.
Txetxu Ausin, Mar Cabezas, Gunter Graf & Gottfried Schweiger