How globalization is undermining sustainable social environments for children
This book uses the ecological model of child development together with ethnographic and comparative studies of two small villages, in Italy and the United States, as its framework for examining the well-being of children in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Global forces, far from being distant and abstract, are revealed as wreaking havoc in children’s environments even in economically advanced countries. Falling birth rates, deteriorating labor conditions, fraying safety nets, rising rates of child poverty, and a surge in racism and populism in Europe and the United States are explored in the petri dish of the village. Globalization’s discontents—unrestrained capitalism and technological change, rising inequality, mass migration, and the juggernaut of climate change—are rapidly destabilizing and degrading the social and physical environments necessary to our collective survival and well-being. This crisis demands a radical restructuring of our macrosystemic value systems. Woodhouse proposes an ecogenerist theory that asks whether our policies and politics foster environments in which children and families can flourish. It proposes, as a benchmark, the family-supportive human-rights principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book closes by highlighting ways in which individuals can engage at the local and regional levels in creating more just and sustainable worlds that are truly fit for children.