This article discusses context-informed conceptualization in the study of children's risk and protection. It begins by defining this perspective, challenging the universalistic approach and the view of cultures as uniform, monolithic and static and acknowledging hybridity, complexity, and the dynamics of change and power relations. In the second part of the article, we exemplify three contexts (religion and spirituality, racism and exclusion, political conflict and violence) that emerged from our large-scale qualitative research project in Israel exploring perceptions of child risk and protection in different contexts. In the third part of the article, we rethink the ontological nature of the categories of child “risk” and “protection.” We outline and deconstruct three prevalent myths identified in the risk discourse, discuss the stance of the observer and the issue of power, the discrepancies and value mismatch between parents and professionals, and the concept of complexity in the risk discourse.
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© 2020 National Council for Family Relations
- child protection
- children at risk
- context-informed perspective
- perceptions of risk for children