Children: Rights and Childhood is widely regarded as the first book to offer a detailed philosophical examination of children’s rights. David Archard provides a clear and accessible introduction to a topic that has assumed increasing relevance since the book’s first publication. Divided clearly into three parts, it covers key topics such as:

  • John Locke’s writings on children
  • Philippe Ariès’s Centuries of Childhood
  • children’s moral and legal rights
  • a child’s right to vote and to sexual choice
  • parental rights to privacy and autonomy
  • defining and understanding child abuse.

The third edition has been fully revised and updated throughout with a new chapter providing an in-depth analysis of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Part 2 has been restructured to move the reader from general theoretical considerations of children’s rights through to practical issues. This volume is ideal reading for advanced studies across Philosophy, Social Work, Law, Childhood Studies, Politics, and Social Policy.

chapter 1|16 pages

John Locke's children

part I|38 pages


chapter 2|22 pages

The concept of childhood

chapter 3|14 pages

The modern conception of childhood

part II|98 pages

Children's Rights

chapter 4|7 pages

Children's moral rights

chapter 5|16 pages

Liberation or caretaking?

chapter 6|13 pages

Arbitrariness and incompetence

chapter 7|14 pages

The wrongs of children's rights

chapter 9|12 pages

Children under the law

chapter 10|17 pages

Children's rights to vote and sexual choice

part III|93 pages

Children, Parents, Family and State

chapter 11|19 pages

Bearing and rearing

chapter 12|15 pages

Family and state

chapter 13|12 pages

Parental rights to privacy and autonomy

chapter 14|15 pages


chapter 15|16 pages

The problem of child abuse

chapter 16|14 pages


A modest collectivist proposal