Australian children's accounts of the closure of a car factory: global restructuring and local impacts

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Newman, Lareen Ann
MacDougall, Colin James
Baum, Fran
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Taylor and Francis
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This paper presents children’s accounts from Adelaide, South Australia, about parental job losses from automotive manufacturing: an industry that is being restructured globally. The research is informed by the “new sociology of childhood” and nests within a longitudinal, mixed-method study of 372 displaced workers. We interviewed 35 boys and girls aged 4 to 19 from 16 families. Findings support calls for children’s voices to be heard. Many children did not see the job loss as a major problem, some felt they now had a better life, and many valued not moving for new work. While some reported social, health and financial impacts, others were shielded by parents. Parents consented to their children’s involvement in 23% of in-scope families and those who had moved interstate were not included. Nevertheless, the children’s accounts contribute a better understanding of adult domains, including the value of family-friendly work patterns; they also highlight the benefits of including children’s perspectives on social and economic change. Economic and policy contexts that may have limited the job loss impact include the welfare state, trade unions, a low unemployment rate and government intervention to manage job loss.
Children, Employment, Australia, Manufacturing restructure
Newman, L., MacDougall, C. and Baum, F., 2009. Australian children’s accounts of the closure of a car factory: global restructuring and local impacts. Community, Work & Family, 12(2), 143-158. Special issue Community and Work-Life Issues in a Global Context: New Perspectives in a Changing World.