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Justice and Childrens Well-Being and Well-Becoming
AuthorSchweiger, Gottfried
Published in
The Well-Being of Children. Philosophical and Social Scientific Approaches / Schweiger, Gottfried; Graf, Gunter, Warsaw/Berlin, 2015, page 84-96
Document typeArticle in a collected edition
Keywords (EN)Justice / Child Well-Being / Political Philosophy
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-2552 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Justice and Childrens Well-Being and Well-Becoming [112.1 kb]
Abstract (English)

Gottfried Schweiger examines the role that the concepts of wellbeing and well-becoming can play in the design of a theory of justice for children. He argues that well-being and well-becoming can serve as the ultimate goals of justice for children, as they allow us to better understand the specific needs of children as agents of justice and their embeddedness in certain social contexts, and they can guide the selection of the currency of justice and the rule of their distribution. Drawing from the critical theory of recognition of Axel Honneth and Amartya Sens capability approach, Schweiger claims that the currency of justice should be those capabilities and functionings that comprise the well-being and well-becoming of children. Such a list does not have to be final but should be drafted based on the best empirical evidence available, bearing in mind that childrens lives and futures are shaped by the environments they live and grow up in and the different institutions and agents they interact with. Ideally these allow children to be heard and involved, giving them space to make their own choices; the goal should be to support and protect childrens current well-being and to support them in their development into autonomous adults with sufficient levels of well-being. Furthermore, Schweiger concludes that justice for children, if it wants to be comprehensive, should incorporate a pluralism of rules of distribution that are applied to the certain capabilities and functionings that are important for the well-being and well-becoming of children. The tripartite differentiation of David Miller can provide a good starting point in this matter, and one that concurs with the main assumption of the recognition approach that children have a claim for the experience of all three forms of recognition care, esteem and respect. Such rules also reflect the developmental dimension of justice that is expressed in its orientation on the well-being and well-becoming of children. The rules themselves sufficiency, equality and desert are of importance for children and express their moral and political status.

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