Working Children: The Luxury and Complexity of Childhood in Lombok, Indonesia


The International Labour Organization estimates that in Southeast Asia there are 30 million children engaged in paid work, 17 million in engaged in unpaid work and 50 million who don’t attend school. These figures can be a shock to people living in countries like Australia where childhood is typically a non-productive stage of life more readily associated with schooling and dependence on adults. What is the meaning of “childhood” in contexts of adversity where if you don’t work as a child, you and your family won’t survive? What does it mean where to attend school is to place your family in a precarious financial situation? To discuss these questions is Dr Maria Amigó, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney. Maria is a social anthropologist and has studied children and childhood in contexts of adversity for over 20 years.

Amigó is the author of Children Chasing Money: Children's Work in Rural Lombok, Indonesia (VDM, 2010).

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.

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