Dr Afua Twum-Danso
Dr Afua Twum-Danso

Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood (BA, MSc, PhD), Course Leader Sociology & Social Policy Level 2/3, and part of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth at Sheffield University.

Academic Profile

I joined the department as a lecturer in the sociology of childhood in September 2008 after completing my PhD at the Centre of West African Studies, the University of Birmingham. Prior to taking up this post, I was a Visiting Lecturer in Children´s Rights at Roehampton University. My professional experience has also included working for ECPAT International, an international non-governmental organisation based in Bangkok, Thailand working against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and undertaking consultancies for the Institute of Security Studies based in Pretoria, South Africa and the Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child in Accra, Ghana.


My ESRC-funded PhD research focused on eliciting the perceptions of local communities on children’s rights, the construction of childhood and the socialization of children and exploring the implications for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in two inner city communities in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The premise of the thesis was that there is a need to move beyond the universality vs. cultural relativity dichotomy and focus more on how communities can be engaged in the interpretation and implementation of the Convention and children´s rights more generally. In the light of the challenges facing children around the world, policy-makers cannot continue to talk merely in terms of the universality vs. relativity of children´s rights as this prevents them from being able to take appropriate steps to protect and support the children of today. Rather, these challenges reveal that at this time an appropriate strategy required to achieve better protection for children needs to take into serious consideration both the principles on which the Convention is based and the cultural values and beliefs of local communities. The research was interdisciplinary and drew heavily on the fields of human rights law, sociology and anthropology and further highlighted the need for synergy between these disciplines. As part of my PhD research I spent 10 months in Ghana undertaking fieldwork and I was able to gain access to almost 300 children and approximately 100 adults through focus group discussions and interviews.

In addition to my PhD research, over the years I have conducted research on involvement of children in conflict in Africa and the trafficking of children from Africa to Europe.

Current research interests include:

the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child particularly in developing countries, children’s participatory rights particularly within the family context in developing societies, the social construction of childhood and the implications for the concept of children´s rights, the dynamics of parent-child relationships and the impact on children´s rights. Funded research projects include the Nuffield Foundation Children’s Perception of Physical Punishment.

Publications since 2005

Twum-Danso, A (forthcoming, 2010), Assessing the Progress of the 1998 Children’s Act of Ghana: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges in its First Ten Years’ in Robert Ame, DeBrenna Agbenyiga, and Nana Apt (eds.), Children’s Rights in Ghana: Reality or Rhetoric? Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘Situating Participatory Methodologies in Context: The Impact of Culture on Adult-Child Interactions in Research and Other Projects,’ Children’s Geographies, Vol. 7, No. 4.

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘Reciprocity, Respect and Responsibility: The 3rs Underlying Parent-Child Relationships in Ghana and the Implications for Children’s Rights’, The International Journal of Children’s Rights, Volume 17, No.3.

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘International Children’s Rights’ in Heather Montgomery and Mary Kellet (eds.), Children and Young People’s Worlds: Developing Frameworks for Integrated Practice, Polity Press.

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘The Construction of Childhood and the Socialization of Children: the Implications for the Implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Ghana’, in Nigel Thomas and Barry Percy-Smith (eds.) The Handbook of Children’s Participation, Routledge.

Twum-Danso, A. (2008) ‘A Cultural Bridge, Not an Imposition: Legitimising Children’s Rights in the Eyes of Local Communities’, in the Journal for the History of Childhood and Youth, Vol.1, No.3.

Twum-Danso, A. (2006) ‘Protecting Children’s Rights in Ghana’, Pambazuka News 271, 28th September 2006

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking this link.

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