An examination of the Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA) as a new social movement (NSM) utilising Habermas’ communicative rationality and core periphery theories
University College Cork
The passing of the Children’s referendum in 2012 is viewed as a landmark moment in the continuing evolution of Children’s Rights in Ireland. Following a prolific period since the publication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1989 the insertion of Article 42A,’Children’ into the Constitution signalled a key moment in legitimising children’s rights in Ireland. This thesis will examine the role of the Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA) in children’s rights discourse as well as child rights based policy and legislation in Ireland. Utilising the theories of New Social Movements (NSM), the thesis will first examine if children’s rights advocacy as evidenced in the work of the Children’s Rights Alliance can be considered a new social movement. Further, utilising Habermas’ theories of communicative rationality and Peters’ core periphery, this thesis will interrogate how the CRA moved from a position of little or no influence (outer periphery) to a position of influence (inner periphery) where it became a ‘supplier’ of information to the State (core) on issues relating to children’s rights. A qualitative research strategy was adopted for this thesis. This included an extensive literature review and collection of secondary data comprising policy documents, legislation, Dáil Debates, newspaper articles and research documents produced by the CRA. The researcher undertook an elite interview with the Children’s Rights Alliance Policy and Legal Advisor. An elite interview felt to be appropriate as it allows access by the researcher to an experienced and skilled policy and advocacy professional member of staff in a senior role within the organisation. The data gathered from the interview is analysed using an interpretive approach. This is best suited to this research as it allows the researcher to identify the subjective meaning of the data. In short, it seeks to not only explain the Children’s Rights Alliance as a New Social Movement but also to understand how it became a key influencer in children rights policy and legislation in Ireland.
Childhood , Children's Rights Alliance , Habermas , Bernhard Peters , Children's rights , New social movements , Communicative rationality , Core periphery theory
Kenneally, A. 2019. An examination of the Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA) as a new social movement (NSM) utilising Habermas’ communicative rationality and core periphery theories. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.