Book Chapter

Child Labour



Punch S (2009) Child Labour. In: Kitchin R & Thrift N (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 45-49.

There has been an ongoing debate on how children's labor is conceptualized: whether it is positive and a form of socialization, or negative and a form of exploitation. This article illustrates the complexity and diversity of the nature and causes of child labor. It considers both productive and reproductive labor, for which children may be paid or unpaid. It explores the usefulness of the definitions of child work versus child labor; policy and legislative debates of protection versus abolition; and the reasons why children work, which include debates on the economic utility of children. The article demonstrates that child labor can be beneficial as well as detrimental both for the children's present and for their future.

Childhood; Children; Domestic labor; Employment; Exploitation; Households; Labor; Legislation; Poverty; Rural; Urban; Work

Publication date31/12/2009
Publisher URL
Place of publicationOxford

People (1)


Professor Samantha Punch

Professor Samantha Punch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology