Interests and Rights: Minority Communities, Parents, and Children
Children play an integral role in the reproduction and maintenance of cultures. Simultaneously, culture groups inform the identify formation and development of children. For this reason, one would think that theories discussing children would take culture into consideration, and theories concerning cultural justice would take children into consideration. This has largely not been the case up to now. As the beginnings of a remedy to this, I will put forward a liberal multicultural theory of children’s rights, arguing that children have a right to culture, and that culture groups have a right to children; these rights need to be balanced, while also taking parents, and their rights, into consideration. My examination will require asking how existing theories of children's rights, and existing theories of multiculturalism, address such a balance. The core of the investigation will consider what legitimate claims cultural groups can make re: children, and what legitimate claims children can make re: cultural groups. I will conclude by taking this largely theoretical discussion into a more practical domain, looking at some implications that arise from this balance of rights in specific cases. These cases will, importantly, include intercultural adoption, education, and male infant circumcision. While other cases can be discussed, my intention is to give a brief overview of the implications that arise from my liberal multicultural theory of children’s rights. My arguments will contribute both to the literature on children’s rights, and to the literature on multiculturalism, bringing the two fields closer together and in discussion with one another.
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