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Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

Working Paper

Theorising ‘Harm’ in Relation to Children’s Work


A central and implicit issue that shapes the present political and institutional consensus surrounding child labour is the notion of harm. Although efforts to address children’s work rest firmly on assumptions about what is harmful, no coherent theory of harm exists. In this paper, we critically explore ‘harm’ in the context of children’s work and call for a more situated and nuanced approach, incorporating ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ dimensions. Such an approach has important implications for future research and policy action.


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